The Awakening Conscience (1853) by William Holman HuntTate Britain
Learn about the art movement set up in rebellion and the artists who populated it
The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a secret society of young artists founded in London in 1848. They were opposed to the Royal Academy’s promotion of the ideal as found in the work of Raphael, an Italian Renaissance painter born in the 1400s and rival of Michelangelo. Raphael epitomized the Renaissance style, which expressed classical ideals of beauty, serenity and harmony and was characterized by strong light and dark shading.
The brotherhood rejected this and sought a return to simplicity of line and large flat areas of intense color and rich detail found in Quattrocento Italian art—work created between 1400 to 1499 before Raphael began painting. They adopted a realist approach in their work and embraced the idea of imitations of nature being an integral part of art.
The Pre-Raphaelites defined themselves as a reform movement, and after creating a distinct name for their form of art, they published a periodical, The Germ, to promote their ideas. The group associated their work with John Ruskin, who an English critic whose influences were driven by his religious background.
The founding members were William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. So join us as we discover more about these rebellious artists through the work they created, as well as find out about the other artists who joined the brotherhood.
The Awakening Conscience, 1853, William Holman Hunt
The Awakening Conscience by William Holman Hunt (From the collection of Tate Britain)
The Annunciation, 1850, Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Annunciation (Around 1849) by Dante Gabriel RossettiTate Britain
The Annunciation by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (From the collection of Tate Britain)
Ophelia, 1851, John Everett Millais
Ophelia (Around 1851) by Sir John Everett MillaisTate Britain
Ophelia by John Everett Millais (From the collection of Tate Britain)
The Golden Stairs, 1880, Edward Burne-Jones
The Golden Stairs (1880) by Sir Edward Coley Burne-JonesTate Britain
The Golden Stairs by Edward Burne-Jones (From the collection of Tate Britain)
Saint Barbara, Marie Spartali Stillman
Saint Barbara (1865/1890) by Marie Spartali StillmanHigh Museum of Art
Saint Barbara by Marie Spartali Stillman (From the collection of High Museum of Art)
Toilet of a Roman Lady, 1869, Simeon Solomon
Toilet of a Roman Lady (1869/1869) by Simeon SolomonDelaware Art Museum
Toilet of a Roman Lady by Simeon Solomon (From the collection of Delaware Art Museum)
Lucretia Borgia Reigns in the Vatican in the Absence of Pope Alexander VI, 1910, Frank Cadogan Cowper
Lucretia Borgia Reigns in the Vatican in the Absence of Pope Alexander VI (Around 1910) by Frank Cadogan CowperTate Britain
Lucretia Borgia Reigns in the Vatican in the Absence of Pope Alexander VI by Frank Cadogan Cowper (From the collection of Tate Britain)