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The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Aesthetic Movement. Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Group of painters who banded together in 1848 to reform British painting Dante Gabriel Rossetti (also a poet) William Holman Hunt John Everett Millais Supported by influential art critic John Ruskin.

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Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

  • Group of painters who banded together in 1848 to reform British painting

    • Dante Gabriel Rossetti (also a poet)

    • William Holman Hunt

    • John Everett Millais

  • Supported by influential art critic John Ruskin

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Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

  • Combination of realistic and fleshly (even ugly) details and religious subjects, which scandalized critics

  • Interest in studying nature rather than following established rules of composition

  • Inspiration from medieval sources (King Arthur)

  • Bright colors

  • Protest against academic painting (e.g., that of Sir Joshua Reynolds), with its rules about contrast and form.

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Rossetti, La Ghirlandata

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Rossetti, Beata Beatrix

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Rossetti, Proserpine

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John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shallott (1888)

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Aesthetic Movement, 1870s-1900

  • Art for art’s sake (L’art pour l’Art) rather than for moral instruction.

  • Baudelaire: “Poetry has no other end but itself. . . If a poet has followed a moral end he has diminished his poetic force.”

  • Like the later Decadent movement, an interest in experience through the senses.

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Characteristics of the Aesthetic Movement

  • Art:

    • Interest in Japanese prints, with their flat perspective

    • Blue and white china

    • Peacock feathers and peacocks

    • Blue and green (and gold) as colors

  • Artists:

    • Dante Gabriel Rossetti

    • Aubrey Beardsley (also associated with the Decadent movement)

    • Edward Burne-Jones

    • James McNeill Whistler

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Walter Pater, conclusion to The Renaissance

  • At first sight experience seems to bury us under a flood of external objects, pressing upon us with a sharp and importunate reality, calling us out of ourselves in a thousand forms of action. But when reflexion begins to play upon these objects they are dissipated under its influence; the cohesive force seems suspended like some trick of magic; each object is loosed into a group of impressions -- colour, odour, texture -- in the mind of the observer.

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Pater, continued

  • To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.

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Tenets of the Aesthetic Movement

  • Living intensely (Pater, Baudelaire)

  • Idealism and living for the ideal

  • Emphasis on the soul (as a philosophical rather than religious concept)

  • Sensitivity to beauty and artistic experiences

  • Placing beauty above other values (valuing church rituals for their sensory impact, for example)

  • Cultivated artificiality: life imitates art rather than vice versa (Wilde, “The Decay of Lying”

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  • Aubrey Beardsley

  • Max Beerbohm

  • Ernest Dowson

  • Richard Le Gallienne

  • Lionel Johnson

  • George Meredith

  • William Morris

  • Walter Pater

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti

  • John Ruskin

  • Algernon Charles Swinburne

  • Arthur Symons

  • Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde

  • Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera Patience satirized the Aesthetic movement in the character of Bunthorne, who was based on Oscar Wilde.

  • Wilde was sent on a lecture tour of United States in 1882, in part so that audiences would understand what was being satirized.

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Whistler, Old Battersea Bridge

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Peacock Room