Artists of the Pre-Raphaelite movement during the 19th century were without a doubt rebellious, and produced many outstandingly beautiful works. More than 120 paintings from the group are now the subject of an exhibition in Liverpool, England, that explores the city’s role in the movement and its position as the “Victorian art capital of the north.”
Coining the term “Sir Sloshua” in mockery of painter and founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts Sir Joshua Reynolds, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was an artistic rebellion. Rejecting what they viewed as the corrupting and mechanistic approach of the Italian Mannerists, Pre-Raphaelite founders William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti endeavored to reform art and return to the verisimilitude, intense hues, and complex compositional strategies of the Quattrocento.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “The Blessed Damozel,” ca. 1875-1879, oil on canvas, 111 x 82.5 cm. (top), 36.5 x 82.5 cm. (bottom)
(c) Walker Art Gallery 2016

Open now at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England, “Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion” features more than 120 paintings from the movement’s founders — and many more by its greatest champions. Guest curator Christopher Newall said, “This exhibition will explore different aspects of patronage, art politics, and the careers of the artists who lived in Liverpool in a way that no exhibition has previously done.” What is more, the exhibition focuses on the significance of Liverpool, particularly the Liverpool Academy, in enabling the movement to flourish.
The gallery continues, “The exhibition will examine the relationship between artists like Ford Madox Brown and Dante Gabriel Rossetti with their Liverpool contemporaries, collectors, and the institutions that welcomed them.” “Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion” opened on February 12 and will remain on view through June 5.
To learn more, visit the Walker Art Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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