Essay On Pre Raphaelite Art

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In the mid nineteenth century, women were no longer always portrayed as passive. They were more and more depicted as a great mystery: a secret (Os, 2009a). They were seen as femme fatale. In Victorian England, Pre-Raphaelite art arose as a counterpart of the art that was appreciated by the royal academy. While the standard was that women were portrayed as ideal vulnerable mothers, women arose in Pre-Raphaelite art as a dangerous sexual persona. Art historians speak of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, but since mostly women were the subjects of the art works, one wonders, who were those women? Did they only serve as sexual desirable muses of the male artists or was it more a matter of mutual respect between artist and model? Should one maybe…show more content…
While in the former historic painting the symbolism of the middle-ages was banned, the new art came again to represent a higher idea (Grotenhuis, 2003). For instance, loose hair and lush clothes came to represent sensuality. The painters of the movement wanted to return to the spirituality of the arts before Raphaël Santi. This resulted in a painting style with bright colors and true-to-nature details (fig. 1), sometimes also inspired by the idea of the oriental woman, wherein a flight from reality was created by choosing literary and mythological figures as a subject (Little, 2003). Thus, the Pre-Raphaelite painting art was highly connected with the Pre-Raphaelite poetry and shares with it its non-visual characteristics. Where the artist of academic art was often depicted historic events, this was no longer the case with the Pre-Raphaelite artist. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood served as a counter movement to the high Victorian portrait art (fig.2), wherein women were depicted as ideal, innocent maternal characters. Arts became a way of flying from the middle-class boredom and primness, as portrayed in the latter (Meier, 1994; Os,

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