Why did the Pre-Raphaelites want to return to the ‘purity’ of painting before Raphael? Did they succeed?
His most famous painting, ‘Work’, inspired by the ideas of Thomas Carlyle, and a possibly unique example of multiplex narrative after William Hogarth.
By 1852, he wasn’t making progress. The Pre-Raphaelite sculptor emigrated to Australia, and Brown thought seriously about going to India. Instead he painted ‘The Last of England’.
From Byron’s Faustian play ‘Manfred’ to the effects on family of the Crimean War, his paintings were often richly narrative, and only gently Pre-Raphaelite.
Smoke in paintings by Poussin, Millet, Homer, Sargent, Waterhouse, Rossetti, and others with more subtle meanings about wind, magic, and gambling.
After Rossetti’s death in 1882, Marie Spartali Stillman kept his obsession alive. Then can Odilon Redon, who also fell for the story of Beatrice.
Rossetti was obsessed with Beatrice, sometimes the literary figure from Dante’s ‘Vita Nuova’, other times that from the Divine Comedy. He was also obsessed with his models Lizzie Siddall and Jane Morris.
Claimed to be Dante’s beloved, Beatrice Portinari has become one of the most painted women in history. But she may have been symbolic rather than physical. Paintings by Blake and others.
Dreams painted by more modern artists, from William Blake to Paul Nash. These tend to become progressively harder to read.
A succinct summary of Dante’s ascent of the mountain-island of Purgatory, with the best of the paintings from Blake to Rossetti.