Last Sunday, we finally made it down to the National Gallery of Art to see the exhibition, Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900.
The Pre-Raphaelites are not the sort of movement you’d normally expect me to be excited about, but a while back, I’d started reading the novel, Possession. That novel is about some literary and archival sleuthing around the relationship between two fictional poets. However, their poetry was based on the that of Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti, the latter of whom is considered a Pre-Raphaelite poet. So I got a book of Pre-Raphaelite poetry and fell in love with the poems by Christina Rossetti, so bought her collection, Goblin Market and Other Poems. Loved it. So when an exhibition about the movement came to town, I wanted to see it.
And it’s great. Really wonderful. Go see it.
First of all, it’s filled with gorgeous art. If you like avant-garde art, you can see traces of Seccessionist art in it, and also just respect it for the fact that it was avant-garde at the time it was created. If you think Kandinsky and Pollock were the worst thing that happened to art, with the possible of the academic-artistic complex conspiring to make ugly, difficult, meaningless art the only good art.. well then, this is a ton of lovely, representational art.
The curating efforts, which revolved around themes like ‘Nature’ and ‘Paradise’ (oddly enough, a room devoted to crafts and furniture), were somewhat lacking in utility, but it was just great to see so much work from this period gathered together.