Brotherhood of the Pre-Raphaelites (part 4)
A storm broke out in 1850, partly due to Rossetti’s tactlessness. All members of the fraternity had to sacredly keep the secrets of the initials of “PRB” sacred, and so far no one has noticed them on the canvases. But Rossetti, who loved mystery, was inclined to uncover secrets. He revealed to several friends the secret of the three letters. Rumors about this leaked to the press, and conservative criticism considered that it was not a matter of young beginner painters, but of an organized movement pursuing clearly revolutionary goals.In 1850, magazines and newspapers favorable in the past year carried the pre-Raphaelites new works: they were accused of affectation and the pursuit of sensation. The main target was Milles and Hunt, but Rossetti also got it. Painfully sensitive to criticism, he decided never to exhibit again and really kept his promise.
Milles was especially blamed for the too literal depiction of a religious plot, the naturalism of details, and the stiffness of colors in the painting “Christ in the House of Parents.” The most ridiculous abuse, unfortunately, came from Dickens.
Salvation from bullying came unexpectedly. For the Pre-Raphaelites, D. Ruskin stood up. He was then the largest English art critic, enjoying unquestioned authority. In 1851, Reskin wrote two letters to the Times newspaper, where he gave an explanation of the “ill-fated” name and approved the principles of artists. Reskin published a brochure about these masters, which served as a turning point in their fate.
At the academic exhibition of 1852, “Hired Shepherd” Hunt and “Ophelia” Milles were already welcomed positively. But the “brothers” almost ceased to meet, and the fate of each of them went apart. The first stage of the movement was behind.
The search for significant meaningful or symbolic, such as Hunt’s, for example, realism of the best paintings of this period: Hunt’s “Shepherd” by Hunt, “Blind Girl” and “Ophelia” by Milles, “Labor” by Brown.
Hunt tried to translate biblical subjects on a scientific and ethnographic basis. In The Hired Shepherd, the lyrical theme is drowned out by a host of “symbolic” little things. Everything is written in detail from nature, but is not coordinated in terms of aperture ratio and color.
Milles was by nature a man of a different kind and rather inclined to sentimentality. Later, having achieved wealth and recognition in secular society, he shuddered recalling the incredible efforts that it took to pre-Raphaelite to write in detail the details of The Blind Girl, who did not see the beauty of nature. The typical rural landscape of England, crowned with a double rainbow, is painted simply and convincingly, just like the picture of Ophelia. She is also interesting as the first portrait of Lizzie Siddal, model and future wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Milles made her – for the sake of realism – pose while lying in the bath. Perhaps the endless diseases of Lizzy began with a cold from these long wet sessions. Milles, like Hunt, wrote all the elements of the composition separately – and a rose bush, and a river, and flowers, and a drowning Ophelia.