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The Pre-Raphaelite Art Conundrum

In 1848, the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood suggested that real life should be represented by art and should be true to nature. This principle is something new during that time. Critics were provoked, conventions were defined and audiences were entranced. Because of this, Tate has decided to revisit the brotherhood after 28 years.

Tim Barringer, the curator, concurs that Pre-Raphaelite re-readings will give the students a chance to view the art in a new light, as well as properly re-evaluate the legacy that these pieces left behind. Students of the Royal Academy themselves, founding members Rosetti, Holman Hunt and Millais were not satisfied with the academy teaching methods and encouraged the students to develop their own techniques by learning from other art pieces, instead of the world around them.

Barringer, however, states that it is important to note that these are just students of the Royal Academy and are still learning the ropes of art. Barringer added that when young students overturn the orthodox methods taught to them and turn to new techniques and subjects, it becomes an exciting moment.

The commitment of Pre-Raphaelities to realism favours bright colours and sharp outlines. It can clearly be seen in the early Renaissance art. They didn’t just reinvent painting style. They did a lot of extraordinary gestures to prove their loyalty to the art.

Millais even spent one year by the riverbanks of Hogsmill in Surrey painting the sceneries for Ophelia. There are other stories that have the same pattern. Holman-Hunt went to Jerusalem so that he can paint the Holy Land’s scenery. Ford Madox Brown gathered sheep on Clapham Common to be painted with his children and wife for Pretty Baa Lambs.




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