If you have been following along with Anatoly Vanetik’s art history blogs, then you know we’ve reached the era of Pre-Raphaelite Art. In case you missed any art blogs covering a multitude of styles and eras, you can catch up by reading more from Anatoly. If you are an art lover and have an appreciation for the history behind art as Anatoly does, he invites you to follow along through his art history.
Dating back in the mid 1800s, Chartism known as an uprising social reform, young and rebellious artists formed a secret society in London, called the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Their artwork emulated the medieval and early renaissance style. The artwork subjected religious, nobel or moralizing nature. With everything occurring during the 19th century in England such as social ills, mass industrialization and rising political history, The Brotherhood sought out to make a message through their art. Their messages were filled with renewal and moral reform utilizing the truth of nature.
This brotherhood began with three artists: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, and John Everett Millais. Together, the three young artists formed the secret society in hopes to inspire and restore England.
On many canvases painted by the Brotherhood, you can find the initials “P.R.B.” along with the artists signatures. However, the secret society was not confined to just three. In fact, the Brotherhood expanded to seven, which they believed was the perfect number for a secret rebellious group of artists. The four additional members to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood are: James Collinson, Thomas Woolner, William Michael Rossetti and Frederic George Stephens.
For this brotherhood to be a major part of history, it would have been nearly impossible for the society to remain a secret. In 1849, paintings with the “P.R.B.” initials were sent to the Royal Academy. The paintings from this group were defined with bright, luminous colors. The artist’s attention to detail and bright colors were highly criticized due to their rebellious techniques.
As the P.R.B. became public, their artwork grew in popularity. The more people knew about this group, the less their paintings were criticized. Due to such criticism however, Collinson resigned from the Brotherhood and Rossetti never displayed his artwork publically again
After a few short years, the Brotherhood diminished. Although their existence was short-lived, their impact was lasting, as it’s now a critical part of art history. This group was one of the first to go outdoors to complete their paintings, stylistically capturing the “truth of nature”. Their vibrant color and extreme attention to detail remains a classic part of history in the rebellious act of artists.