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  • Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    Empires - The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
    A fascinating and highly entertaining look at one of the most important families of the Renaissance era--the Medici.
  • Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)
    Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting / Grand Tour / Odyssey / Pains of Glass)

    “Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters.” This set includes Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. Simultaneously delightful and scholarly--this is a must have for anyone interested in art history.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    When British stencil artist Banksy traveled to Los Angeles to work, he came across obscure French filmmaker Thierry Guetta and his badly organized collection of videotapes involving the activities of graffiti artists. Inspired, Banksy assembled them with new footage to create this talked-about documentary, and the result is a mind-boggling and odd film (so strange as to be thought a hoax by some) about outsider artists and the definition of art itself.
  • The Impressionists
    The Impressionists
    A dramatization of the Impressionist movement as seen through the eyes of Claude Monet. Highly entertaining and informative.
  • The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    The Impressionists: The Other French Revolution
    A very personal and revealing look at the personalities that created Impressionism.

Entries in British Painting (5)


Edward Burne-Jones: Elusive and Imaginary

Sir Edward Burne-Jones - The Summons: Study for the Head of Gawaine - 1893 - Fabricated black crayon on paper - 15 x 9 in. (38.1 x 22.8 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkBritish Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) came from extremely humble beginnings. Born Ned Jones, he was the son of a struggling picture framer. His mother died in childbirth.

Despite financial difficulties, “Burne-Jones enrolled at Oxford in 1853, only to leave two years later to train under the Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriele Rossetti. Burne-Jones was soon recognized as a leading artist in his own right. Toward the end of his career, the Australian mining engineer William Knox d’Arcy commissioned him to design a set of tapestries depicting the legend of the Quest for the Holy Grail. This drawing is a preparatory study for the figure of Gawaine in the tapestry, The Summons.” (Metropolitan Museum of Art)


Lord Frederic Leighton and Victorian Classicism

Lord Frederic Leighton - Cimabue’s Celebrated Madonna - 1853-1855 - The National Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)Victorian Classicism was a British form of historical painting inspired by the art and architecture of Classical Greece and Rome. In the 19th century, an increasing number of Western Europeans made the Grand Tour to Mediterranean lands. There was a great popular interest in the region's lost civilizations and exotic cultures, and this fascination fueled the rise of Classicism in Britain, and Orientalism. Orientalism, which was primarily centered in continental Europe, refers to the imitation or depiction of aspects in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian cultures.

The Classicists were closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, and artists in each movement were influenced by both styles, to some degree. Both movements were highly romantic and were inspired by similar historical and mythological themes. The key distinction is that the Classicists epitomized the rigid academic standards of painting, while the Pre-Raphaelites were initially formed as a rebellion against those same standards.

English painter and sculptor Lord Frederic Leighton (1830-1896) was one of the leading Classicists, and in his lifetime was considered by many to be among the finest painter of his generation. Leighton was a great admirer of Italian Renaissance painting (which hearkened back to the classical era) and showed, for his time, an advanced appreciation of the early Italian painters, including Cimabue and Giotto (both discussed elsewhere on What About Art?). He drew heavily on 15th- and 16th-century sources when working on Cimabue's Celebrated Madonna (featured here). Ironically, the altarpiece shown by Leighton (now in the Uffizi) is today recognized to have be done by the artist Duccio (also discussed on What About Art?), not Cimabue.


Sir George Clausen: Working in Multiple Media

George Clausen - The Mowers - 1892 - Oil on canvas, 97 x 76 cm - Usher Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)From the 1880s on, Britain's rural plein-air naturalism was tightened by the example of Bastien-Lepage and the Barbizon school. In 1883, British painter, Sir George Clausen (1852-1944), was in Paris for several months, working under Bouguereau at the Académie Julian. He met Bastien-Lepage, and then followed his own predilection for simple, rustic scenes. Rural subjects remained to the fore in his work, and from the 1890s on he expressed them in his own version of Impressionist techniques. His post-Millet view of nature and farm work can be seen in The Mowers, featured here, which also exhibits effects of color and light reminiscent of Monet. Clausen was proficient in oil and watercolor, etching, mezzotint, dry point and, occasionally, lithography. He was knighted in 1927.


Meredith Frampton

Meredith Frampton - Still-life, 1932 - Oil on canvas, 1230 X 819 X 25 mm, Royal Academy of Arts, LondonBritish Art Deco painter Meredith Frampton (1894-1984) (  ) created highly finished portraits and still life works, sometimes with slightly Surrealist overtones. 


A Marriage Restored

William Hogarth - William James and Mrs William James, both 1744 (click photo for larger image)William Hogarth (1697-1764) was an important English artist--who was a highly skilled painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist. “Although his portraits of the 18th-century English gentleman and his ‘trophy wife have been popular with visitors to the Worcester Art Museum for more than a century, the paintings have remained in a storeroom for the past five years because of conservation issues.”  Find out how these issues have been addressed and who is responsible here.