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Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design

Yale Univ. 2013. 256p. ed. by . illus. ISBN 9780300194449. $60. FINE ARTS
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This book, accompanying an exhibition of the same name, is a re-examination of the 19th-century English art movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In recent years, there has been much revisionist scholarship on all aspects of this movement and its artists, and thus the authors believe that it is time to view the art of this group in a new context. Here, their main premise is that the Pre-Raphaelite artists were the earliest of the historical avant-garde, radically changing the art and design of orthodox Victorian England. This was manifested both through the subject matter of their work, which turned to historical, mythological, and religious scenes, as well in their style and painting methods, which employed sharp lines and bright, iridescent colors drawn from early Italian Renaissance painting. The book unfolds chronologically and examines painting, drawing, sculpture, and the decorative arts (e.g., textiles and furniture) along themes such as nature, beauty, and paradise.
VERDICT With its beautiful illustrations and overview format, this book is highly recommended for readers wanting a scholarly introduction to the topic.

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