ART MOVEMENTS: Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Painters

The Black Brunswicker, 1860
by John Everett Millais 

Descriptive detail is one of the most proper means to convey truth and realism: this is what John Ruskin, a great British writer and art critic of the nineteenth-century believed. The artists' group known as Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood took a leaf from Ruskin’s book and succeeded in recreating the concept on their colourful canvases.

Instead of pursuing the mechanical style of mannerism that was followed after Raphael and Michelangelo, the artists like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt preferred the painting style of the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance artists.

If we stamp the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood as the first Avant-Garde movement, we would not be far from the truth. Depiction of genuine idea and precise study of nature were the prominent features of these artists. 

Look at the painting titled “Christ in the House of His Parents” done by John Everett Millais. Here we would visualise both of these aspects: the genuine depiction and precise study of nature. In this painting, Millais has shown the most accurate realistic approach. See the objects he had painted. Objects, other than the men, women and the child. He had painted almost the real visual of the house of a carpenter. These objects are so delicately and precisely painted. Obviously, Jesus as a child and his mother Marry are two main figures grabbing our attraction.

The contemporary art critics had not taken this painting with due sympathy. It was rejected by branding an unworthy to blasphemous. No other than the great writer Charles Dickens had said that in this painting the family of a Godly person as Jesus was shown as a family of the poor labourer. However, the artists attached with Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood would not be discouraged. They continued remaining devoted to their art showing naturalism and realism.

Christ in the House of His Parents-by John Everett Millais

Founded in 1848 in the city of London, and becoming more and more famous in the succeeding decades, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood had several master artists in its fold. Dante Gabriel Rossetti was one of the most famous artists in the group. He was famous for his vivid colours and art of transferring the beauty of women onto canvases. In addition to his artistic height, he was famous for his love relationships he built up and maintained with his female models and colleagues. Jane Morris, a wife of William Morris who was a close friend of Rossetti was among his ‘closely connected’ models.

Beata Beatrix Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti was one of the painters who belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood movement of art. Hee was a man of different mood and characteristic, as an artist. Here is what his sister, Cristina Rossette, said once: “He feeds upon her face by day and night, And she with true kind eyes look back on him, Fair as the moon and joyful as the light: Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim; Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright; Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.”  

British painters John Godward and John William Waterhouse. They carried forward the depiction of reality almost in the photorealistic style of painting. The collection of paintings done by John Godward is like an icon of the beauty of women shown in art. Though the subjects chosen by John William Waterhouse came from mythology and history, he maintained the depicting of realistic pattern alive.

Artists: Painting Shakespearean Themes: Shakespeare has been one of the major sources of inspiration for most of the great painters of the past and present. Here are some of the artists who have chosen the themes and scenes from the writings of Shakespeare. Joseph Noel Paton was an artist who painted under the style of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Born in Scotland in the year 1821, Paton was had tried his family business of a weaver for a time. But his artistic fire dragged him to theRoyal Academy of arts.

The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania: He had painted several portraits and paintings which are based on mythology. But the painting, The quarrel of Oberon and Titania was a unique one. It was based on the story of the play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' written by Shakespeare.

In this painting, Paton has shown Oberon and Titania. These characters are king and queen of one of the fairy tales. The couple is shown as quarrelling over the possession of the child who was carried off to the fairy realm and replaced by a fairy child. The imaginative part of this painting is very strong. All the creatures, the part of a fairy tale, painted in beautiful style lead our eyes to the central figures of Oberon and Titania.

If we look at the above painting closely, we can see how the main figures are put into the centre and wide space is put in all the sides. But space enhances the meaning and importance of the painting by leading the eyes of viewers to the figures of Oberon and Titania. It is the artist's skill that has created such a feeling of relationship between the figures and space on the frame. 

Paton family had done much contribution to the art of painting, literature and sculpture. One more historical fact. His son Frederich was posted as the director of commercial intelligence in the government of India.

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