Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Goth Challenge, Day 23 (part 2)

Day 23 – Your favourite artist or photographer.

Ophelia by Hughes
I've decided to split this into two separate posts - favorite artist/photographer (more  modern) and favorite artist/art movement (classical). I've already written about my favorite contemporary photographer/artist in Goth Challenge, Day 23 (part 1).

My favorite art movement is the Pre-Raphaelite movement. This is considered by many art historians to be the first avant-garde movement. It began in either 1848 or 1849 when a group of English painters, poets and critics founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB). The founding members were  William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Later additions to the Brotherhood included William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner. Other artists, though not part of the PRB, were also associated with the movement, including: Ford Madox Brown and Charles Collins, the poet Christina Rossetti, the artist and social critic John Ruskin, the painter-poet William Bell Scott, and the sculptor poet John Lucas Tupper. Later additions to the Pre-Raphaelite circle include J. W. Inchnold, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris and even J. M. Whistler.

Ophelia by Millais
They rebeled against the standards of art being taught at the time. They wanted to make their art more detailed, with intense colors and complex compositions with a more realistic represenatation of life and nature. They also believed all arts were closely related and encouraged artists and writers to practice both art forms - though the only one successful at both was Dante Gabriel Rosetti. And because of this interrelation of the arts, they drew much of their subject matter from literature, such as Shakespeare, Keats, Tennyson, and the Bible.

The Lady of Shallot by Waterhouse
I think it is this intermingling of literature and visual arts that is part of what drew me in at a young age. The first Pre-Rahpaelite images I saw were in my mother's college art books, and the subject matter came from Tennyson's Idylls of the King and Hamlet. These pictures were stunning illustrations of the Arthurian legends and Shakespear's and characters that I already knew well.

The first to really catch my eye were various renditions of Ophelia, and The Lady of Shallot. But my favorite was Dante's Dream, by Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

Dante's Dream by Rosetti
I truly love almost every Pre-Raphaelite painting I see; but I seem to gravitate most to Waterhouse. I love his Shakespeare paintings, those based on Tennyson and mythological characters. It is as if he plucked images straight from my mind.

There is, however, one particular Pre-Raphaelite painting that I hate - The Scapegoat by William Holman Hunt. I saw this one in my mom's art books as a child, and had an instant negative feeling toward it. Something about this image has always made me feel ill.

The Scapegoat by Hunt
As I mentioned earlier, the Pre-Raphaelites also embraced the literary arts. My favorite poet is Christina Rosetti, and my favorite of her poems is The Goblin Market. I also particularly love her Monna Innominata: a Sonnet of Sonnets - in fact, I used parts of this poem in my wedding vows.

Goblin Market - poem by Christina Rosetti,
illustration by Dante Gabriel Rosetti

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