From the Industrial Revolution to World War I, C. 1850–1914

Late Nineteenth-Century Painting

Who were the Pre-Raphelites?

Also known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, this group, lead by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, started out in 1848 as a secret society of students at the Royal Academy School in England who rejected the perceived materialism of the Victorian period as well as the teachings of the Academy. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which also included William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, found the work of the nineteenth-century academy to be artificial and decadent, and instead preferred the simplicity and apparent sincerity of Renaissance masters such as Fra Angelico and Jan van Eyck. The Pre-Raphaelite’s also valued the moralistic themes of these artists and favored religious themes. Significant Pre-Raphaelite paintings include Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience (1853–1854), Millais’ Christ in the Carpenter Shop (Christ in the House of His Parents) (1849–1850), and Rossetti’s The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849). The Pre-Raphaelites were greatly supported by the English art critic, John Ruskin, were sometimes characterized as Romantic, and went on to influence the 174 Aesthetic movement, the symbolists, and Art Nouveau.


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