Brotherhood of the Pre-Raphaelites (part 2)
The very name of the fraternity seemed to imply recognition of the art of Raphael’s predecessors and a denial of himself. But this is not so. The picturesque achievements of the great master were reduced by followers to the finished recipe. Rafael was involuntarily responsible for the work of later imitators, whose “high style” was distinguished by his mannerism and lack of life truth.
The Pre-Raphaelite movement began with little: the friendship of several young people, united by a desire to break out of the stuffy atmosphere of the wretched philistine art of the time of Queen Victoria and the rule of prosperous capitalists.
Pre-Raphaelitism was a manifestation of a process that affected not only English, but all of European painting. The classical academic tradition collapsed. The new was reflected in the pursuit of sincerity and truth. Struggling for the truth of feelings, the Pre-Raphaelites sought its direct expression not in pathetically theatrical poses, but in restrained, but unique individual gestures, peeped in reality. Denying the black color “under the old masters” and the generalization of the details of the academic school, they tried with equal care to write down the smallest details of the foreground and the most distant objects, not afraid of the brightness of the colors and not really caring for their harmonious combination.
Adhering to the old, tested primer recipes, they resolutely highlighted the color of their paintings and achieved their technical high-quality, which has preserved to this day the softened sharpness of color contrasts and the airless rigidity of their painting. That is why the graphic creations of the Pre-Raphaelites — drawings and illustrations — seem more valuable to us. Moreover, the narrative nature of their art stemmed from the requirement of significant content. But all of the above applies to the theories and principles of artists, so to speak, in a pure form, and is not applicable fully to the creativity of any of them individually. In particular, to the actual mastermind of the movement – Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
The name “Brotherhood of the Pre-Raphaelites” was not invented by Milles and not Hunt, but by Rossetti, who adored mystery and got used to endless conversations about conspiracies and conspiracies at home. He also invented the code “PRB”, that is, the “Pre-Raphaelite fraternity”, by which all members were obliged to mark their paintings.