Cultural Profile – The Pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood

Posted January 24, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Art, Culture / 0 Comments

I mentioned avant-garde in the previous entry so I thought it was only fitting to look at the originals. The Pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood has been considered the first avant-garde movement in art. They throw away the rule book of art to create something different and exciting. They believed that the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art, hence the name Pre-Raphaelites.

The brotherhood rejected the rule and formula of art that were been taught by Sir Joshua Reynolds and the Royal Academy of Art. They considered the work ‘sloppy’ and formulaic, they believed that Sir Sloshua (Sir Joshua) was stopping them explore other styles, they wanted to return to the abundant detail, intense colours, and complex compositions of Quattrocento Italian and Flemish art.

The brotherhood stop up against the norm and followed their own doctrine:

  • To have genuine ideas to express;
  • To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;
  • 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;
  • And, most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.

Influenced by Romanticism, they thought that freedom and responsibility were inseparable so they followed the principles of realism. The Brotherhood was met with lots of controversy in there struggle against the Royal Academy of art, but ultimately they influenced and changed art history as well. When the brotherhood disbanded the artists who had worked in the style still followed these techniques (initially anyway) but they no longer signed their works with “PRB”

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