It’s Earth Day!

In Modern Painters, John Ruskin urged artists to “go to nature in all singleness of heart… rejecting nothing, selecting nothing and scorning nothing; believing all things to be right and good, and rejoicing always in the truth.” The Pre-Raphaelites and their followers took this advice to heart. In Millais’ Ophelia, for example, we can see…
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Seeking out Mirrors

I’m not sure why I’m so drawn to paintings with mirrors in them, but I seem to seek them out. Specifically, mirrors on walls — not mirrors as a symbol of vanity. When I see a mirror in the background, I feel as if the artist has offered me a different perspective, allowing me to…
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True Painters of Light

When the artist Thomas Kinkade rose to fame, I could net help but be irritated when he styled himself as the “Painter of Light” and then proceeded to trademark it as his title.  Because there are artists among the Pre-Raphaelite circle that captured light.  And they did it better. William Holman Hunt painted The Light…
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Pre-Raphaelites and Shakespeare: Claudio and Isabella

Claudio and Isabella, painted by William Holman Hunt, is based on Shakespeare’s play Measure for Measure. “The choice of such a scene is typical of Hunt’s preoccupation with sin and guilt and his intensely moralistic approach to art.” Christopher Wood, The Pre-Raphaelites. The title of the play stems from the biblical book of Matthew:  With…
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Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites

I recently saw an interview with Jane Campion on Charlie Rose and was interested as she discussed her latest film, Bright Star.    Based on the three-year romance between  John Keats and Fanny Brawne, which was cut short by Keats’ untimely death at age 25. Keats was an inspiration to the Pre-Raphaelites.   His poem The Eve…
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Valentine Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus

Based on Shakespeare’s Two Gentleman of Verona, this was one of William Holman Hunt’s most successful paintings. Lizzie Siddal, one of my favorite Pre-Raphaelite models, modeled for Sylvia. We can not see her features in this image, though.  Hunt repainted them after criticism from John Ruskin. Hunt painted this piece outdoors in the Surrey countryside…
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Holman Hunt/Pre-Raphaelite Vision Begins Saturday

Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision Saturday 11 October 2008 – Sunday 11 January 2009 Manchester Art Gallery FREE This autumn Manchester Art Gallery stages the first international exhibition in over 40 years dedicated to the life and work of Pre-Raphaelite master William Holman Hunt. For the first time ever, you can see all three…
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Annie Miller

  Jan Marsh briefly describes Annie Miller’s childhood in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood (not associated with this website) as horribly poor and unhygienic, saying that a neighbor had described Annie and her sister as “dirty and covered with vermin”…and that Annie’s hair was particularly “wild and filthy”.  Annie’s mother had died some time after her birth, leaving…
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Isabella and the Pot of Basil

I had seen this painting several times in books and online, but when I saw it in person I was blown away. The painting is quite large, measuring 73.5 x 45.5 inches. Due to its size, the painting draws you in, completely dominating the room and immersing you in every detail. The painting illustrates a…
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