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Entries in Pre-Raphaelites (6)


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)


The Golden Age of Illustration

Howard Pyle - The Wonder Clock, or Four and Twenty Marvelous Tales: Title page - 1887 - Pen and black ink on paper - sheet: 10 1/4 x 7 1/16 in. (26 x 17.9 cm) - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NYThe Golden Age of Illustration was a period of unprecedented excellence in book and magazine illustration. It developed from advances in technology allowing for the accurate and affordable reproduction of art, combined with a voracious public demand for new graphic art.

In Europe, Golden Age artists were influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement, as well as by such design-oriented movements as the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, and Les Nabis.

American illustration of this period was anchored by the Brandywine Valley tradition, begun by Howard Pyle (1853-1911) and carried on by his students, who included N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945) and Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), among others.

Pyle's oft-quoted advice to his students was, “Throw your heart into the picture and then jump in after it”. One biographer has described Pyle as having, “fought, sang, struggled and sobbed through his work.”. He paid close attention to historical detail and often painted live models wearing period costumes. Pyle published some 3,300 illustrations during his 35 year career.


That Pre-Raphaelite Woman…

Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys. Mary Magdalene. ca. 1860. - Oil on canvas — (approx. 13 1/4 x 11 in) - Private Collection (click photo for larger image)Sir John Everett Millais - Ophelia - 1851-52 - Oil on canvas, 76 x 112 cm - Tate Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (1829 – 1862) was an English artists' model, poet and artist—who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Her “employers” included Walter Deverell, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais (including his notable 1852 painting, “Ophelia”) and her eventual husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. In this work, you can see that there is a striking resemblance. Millais painted the landscape for this painting, beside a stream, while staying with William Holman Hunt on a farm in Surrey, in the summer and fall of 1851. The time Millais took over this painting, directly from life, enabled him to represent the flowers he required (some of which were cited by Shakespeare in “Hamlet” and some of which were included for their symbolic value), even if they did not all bloom at the same time. Following a method much used by the Pre-Raphaelites, Millais painted the figure in his London studio during the following winter. There he observed the effect of drowning, again from the life, by having Elizabeth pose in a heated bathtub, wearing an old-fashioned dress.


Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones: English Painter and Decorative Painter

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones - The Golden Stairs - 1876-80 - Oil on canvas, 277 x 117 cm - Tate Gallery, London (click photo for larger image)Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) was an English painter and decorative artist. He was the leading figure in the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and he was influenced by the art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. His paintings of subjects from medieval legend and Classical mythology and his designs for stained glass, tapestry and many other media played an important part in the Aesthetic Movement and the history of international Symbolism.


Ford Madox Brown: English Painter of Moral and Historical Subjects

Ford Madox Brown - The Last of England - 1852-55 - Oil on panel, 83 x 75 cm - City Art Gallery, Birmingham (click photo for larger image)This famous image depicts two emigrants leaving England to start a new life abroad. The theme was inspired by the emigration of the sculptor Thomas Woolner, a fellow Pre-Raphaelite, who left for the goldfields of Australia in July 1852. In the same year, 369,000 emigrants left Britain to seek their fortune overseas. British artist Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893) hardly able himself to make a living from his art, was contemplating emigrating to India when he began work on The Last of England, featured here. The circular format is reminiscent of a Renaissance tondo, but also serves to emphasise the couple's unity.