The Pre-Raphaelites

John_Everett_Millais_-_Ophelia_-_Google_Art_ProjectThe Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood or the Pre-Raphaelites as they became known and was a group of English painters, poets, and critics.

The movement was founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti who were joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner to form the seven-member, so called “brotherhood”.

The groups manifesto was:

  1. to have genuine ideas to express
  2. to study nature attentively, so as to know how to express them
  3. 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
  4. most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues

and as usual I have only come this 150 years late!!

I love this artwork. So over the next few weeks we will take a look at the key works in this fabulous movement. This week we start with:

Ophelia by British artist Sir John Everett Millais. Possibly one of his finest paintings, it was completed between 1851 and 1852

It depicts Ophelia, a character from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, singing before she drowns in a river in Denmark. I think it is beautiful, the colour and composition are wonderful and is held in the Tate Britain in London.


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