Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters

{amp}nbsp; Prestel. Jun. 2018. 256p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9783791357287. $65. FINE ARTS
OrangeReviewStarIn this accompaniment to an exhibition at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, short essays by art historians examine the inspirations in style, subject, and technique that the 19th-century English Pre-Raphaelite artists took from the old masters. It's widely known that the Pre-Raphaelites were inspired by Italian artists before Raphael, such as Sandro Botticelli, and the art of 15th-century Florence, and that is addressed here. But the essayists also demonstrate that the influence of early Netherlandish artists such as Jan Van Eyck and Hans Memling had an equal impact on their attention to detail and the use of white ground beneath vibrantly colored oil paints. The volume cites Italian late-medieval author Dante Alighieri and Venetian artists such as Titian and Veronese, whose influence is prominent in Dante Gabriel Rossetti's artworks. Decorative arts are also explored in a piece on William Morris's and Edward Burne-Jones's inspiration and appropriation of medieval literature, forms, and motifs in stained glass, furniture, tapestries, and book illustration.
VERDICT With beautiful color images that make the visual connections among the art works and scholarly yet readable essays, this is for lovers of the Pre-Raphaelites as well as those who want to learn more about them.
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