Pre-Raphaelite Festival

Article Featured Image
Picture of a painting showuing an angel leading Dante to his dying lover Isabelle

'Dante's Dream', Rossetti, 1871

With 'The Drawing of Edward Burne-Jones' now open at the Lady Lever Art Gallery Pre-Raphaelite art is some of the best loved around. Here at the museums, we’ve just published a new book, 'Pre-Raphaelite Treasures at National Museums Liverpool'. Written by Laura MacCulloch, the book gives a neat overview of the Pre-Raphaelite movement which began in 1848 and details some of the wonderful Pre-Raphaelite works in the National Museums Liverpool collection.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood grew out of dissatisfaction with the prescriptive nature of contemporary British art during the mid-19th century; the Royal Academy Schools in London had a curriculum based on traditional modes of art training and students were urged to follow the traditional formula for painting which dictated one-third light and two-thirds dark thereby creating a spotlight on the central feature of the painting. The Brotherhood wanted to alter the direction of contemporary art by looking to artists that pre-dated Raphael, whose work they felt had creative and spiritual integrity.

Pre-Raphaelite art explodes onto the timeline of British art. It is honest, romantic thoroughly engaging. The natural lighting and bright colours breathe liveliness and creativity into 19th century art.

Laura’s overview of the Pre-Raphaelite works is both concise and highly informative; the book is divided into three sections, The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, The Later Pre-Raphaelites, The Liverpool Pre-Raphaelites. Each section includes an introduction and key pieces of work with a small and insightful analysis to go alongside.

The book is the perfect accompaniment to the current mini Pre-Raphaelite festival running at the museums; this includes talks from our resident experts at the Walker, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House. Some of these talks take a general approach to the era; others focus on an artist, painting or exhibition.