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April 6
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The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Sun Apr 6, 2014, 2:52 AM

The Brotherhood

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848, London, by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Later on it was joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner. Their plan was to change art by removing the mechanistic approach which appeared after Raphael and Michelangelo. The seven considered Raphael's paintings having a corrupting influence on art, hence the name.

Rossetti (2) by STelariJE Millais by STelariWH Hunt by STelari

Intentions and thoughts

The Brotherhood wanted to return to Quattrocento Italian art for its detail, strong colours and compositions. They published a periodical, The Germ, to promote their ideas and creations and recorded their debates in the Pre-Raphaelite Journal. They specifically opposed the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts (where Hunt and Millais used to study), Sir Joshua Reynolds, but at the beginning they intended to keep the existence of the group a secret from the Academy.

Rossetti by STelariJE Millais (5) by STelari


The Brotherhood's early doctrines were expressed in four declarations: to have genuine ideas to express, to study nature attentively (so as to know how to depict them), to sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art (to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parodying and learned by rote), to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues. The doctrines were non-dogmatic, since the Brotherhood wanted the individuals to express their own ideas in their own way as well. All members signed their work with their name followed by "PRB".

JE Millais (4) by STelariJE Millais (3) by STelariJ Collinson by STelari


They were inspired by Romanticism, medieval culture for its spirituality and creativity that later disappeared, and especially by nature, depicting it in a great amount of sharp detail and strong colour (after the Quattrocento art mentioned previously). In later stages, the group divided and moved in two directions - the realists (led by Hunt and Millais) and the medievalists (Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris). The divide wasn't quite completed - both directions opposed the materialist realism associated with Courbet and Impressionism.

JE Millais (2) by STelariFG Stephens by Millais by STelari

The end

In 1850, the Pre-Raphaelites became the subject of controversy after the exhibition of Millais' painting Christ in the House of His Parents. The brotherhood's medievalism was called backward-looking and the amount detail was considered ugly. The painting itself was described as blasphemous. After that event, Collinson left the brotherhood and shortly after the group disbanded. Artists influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites continued painting but no longer signed their works with "PRB".

DG Rossetti by STelariDG Rossetti (3) by STelariDG Rossetti (2) by STelari  


Written by STelari for the Art History Project

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Written for ArtHistoryProject.
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TrollGirl Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
How on earth could Raphael's art have a corrupting influence on anything @_@
STelari Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
That remains a mystery. But their paintings are still nice (:
bear48 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Professional

Thank you
Bit-sinna Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Great introduction to the subject. Thank you very much for taking the time to make it. :)
rlkirkland Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:) A nice overview with beautiful selections. :sun:
maybe-paper-hearts Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2014  Student Photographer
Monolith666 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like it.
Avoice Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014   General Artist
Thank you for sharing,  I have always been found of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
pjenz Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for taking the time to share, this my favorite time in Art History.  :heart:
Rozrr Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Nice article that only barely touches on the brotherhood...  There were a great many other artists who were 'followers' It is a wonderful subject to look into with the reward of the most amazing and beautiful paintings.

I story that has always lingered with me is How Lizzie Siddall (Famed for her glorious red hair) the model and mistress of Rossetti became terribly ill and died after being subjected to posing in very cold conditions, particularly for Ophelia. She was buried along with Dante Rossettis poems in Highgate Cemetery in London. However 7 years later Dante wanted his poems back, so the grave was opened and they found the coffin full of the fabulous hair. It would appear it had continued to grow after death. Something we believe to be impossible. However it is a good…
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