About us
Movements, Styles, and Tendencies The Pre-Raphaelite Movement
The Pre-Raphaelite Movement Collage

The Pre-Raphaelite Movement

Started: 1848

Ended: 1890

The Pre-Raphaelite Movement Timeline

KEY ARTISTS

Dante Gabriel RossettiDante Gabriel Rossetti
Quick View
Artist Page
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
William Holman HuntWilliam Holman Hunt
Quick View
Artist Page
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
John Everett MillaisJohn Everett Millais
Quick View
Further External Info
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
William MorrisWilliam Morris
Quick View
Artist Page
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Edward Burne-JonesEdward Burne-Jones
Quick View
Further External Info
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Julia Margaret CameronJulia Margaret Cameron
Quick View
Artist Page
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"We sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote"

The Pre-Raphaelites Signature
Quotes
1 of 17

Summary

The Pre-Raphaelites opposed the dominance of the British Royal Academy, which championed a narrow range of idealized or moral subjects and conventional definitions of beauty drawn from the early Italian Renaissance and Classical art. In contrast, the Pre-Raphaelites took inspiration from an earlier (pre-Raphaelite - before the artist Raphael) period, that is, the centuries preceding the High Renaissance. They believed painters before the Renaissance provided a model for depicting nature and the human body realistically, rather than idealistically, and that collective guilds of medieval craftspeople offered an alternative vision of artistic community to mid-19th-century academic approaches.

Key Ideas

The Pre-Raphaelites rejected not only the British Royal Academy's preference for Victorian subjects and styles, but also its teaching methods. They believed that rote learning had replaced truth and experience. Theirs was one of the first major challenges to "official" art, and their institutional critique is a crucial piece of the history of modern art in Britain.
Above all, Pre-Raphaelitism espoused Naturalism: the detailed study of nature by the artist and fidelity to its appearance, even when this risked showing ugliness. It also named a preference for natural forms as the basis for patterns and decoration that offered an antidote to the industrial designs of the machine age.
As part of their reaction to the negative impact of industrialization, Pre-Raphaelites turned to the medieval period as a stylistic model and as an ideal for the synthesis of art and life in the applied arts. Their revival of medieval styles, stories, and methods of production greatly influenced the development of the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau design movements.
The Pre-Raphaelite Movement Image

Beginnings:

The Pre-Raphaelite Movement grew out of several principal developments tied to Romanticism in early-19th-century Britain. The first was the reaction to industrialization, which had expanded at a feverish pace since the late-18th century, making Britain by far the most technologically and mechanically advanced nation by the 1830s. But with industrialization came an influx of laborers from the countryside who were crammed into dirty, polluted, and unsanitary housing and working conditions in the growing cities, where an increase in crime was also evident. Government regulation had failed to keep up with these rapid changes, and Romantic critics sought ways to expose such changes and ameliorate the situation. Artists and architects such as Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who was responsible for all the interior designs of the new Houses of Parliament (1836-60), advocated a return to the Gothic style and the supposed healthful, green, and moral environment of the medieval era, which they viewed as the antithesis of the industrial age. Pugin's Contrasts (1836) and The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (1841) proved enormously influential in promoting the Gothic Revival for the next several decades.

If you see an error or typo, please:
tell us
Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Anna Souter

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Anna Souter
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
Available from:
[Accessed ]