Viewing the Pre-Raphaelite Art Movement of the 1850 to 1860s in England against the backdrop of the changing world. This was one of those revolutionary ages that aspire to change while those in power seek to maintain their hold on protecting the present paradigms.
This colloquy will explore the individual artists, their models and the intertwined relationships measured against the revolutionary backdrop then in fashion.
Additionally, the PRB (the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood). which began in the revolutionary years of 1848 as a secret group, will be explored for the group’s founding aims and how these aims contrasted with the establishment, as well as the other radical choices moving the art world in disparate directions at the time.
Within the art world focus, the impact on changing technology, which led to new colors, new methods of portage, new techniques, and new ideas about the purpose of art, will be incorporated into the discussion of the European art world and the specific place the PRB sought to carve out in this world. Additionally, the individual libertarian and often socialist attitudes of many of the adherents to the PRB approaches allows for a further discussion of the politics of the time: the impact of urbanization on their philosophy, gender relationship philosophy as expected by the current mores and how those mores confined and defined the approaches and subject matter of the PRB. A special unit will be developed around the women in the PRB orbit. Those who were muses, mistresses, models, and often became artists themselves.
Participants will be given a background of short readings from articles, texts, video clips, etc. to familiarize the participants with the goals of the Pre-Raphaelite Movement. Each person will choose an artist and a significant work from the members of the movement to study and from which to research how their lives and works fit in with the time and place in which they lived and painted as PRB adherents.
Each colloquy meeting would be built around a presentation by the moderator to define and defend the PRB works as exemplary of the aims of the group, with a brief expansion of the goals of Western Art at that point in history and why the PRB was looking backward while attempting something both new and particular to the time. The goal of the colloquy is to secure an understanding of the movement and for each participant to demonstrate this understanding through their own individual artwork choice by applying the analysis of the the PRB goals, methods, composition and design, uses of symbolism, subject-matter choice and whether the work was completed in a studio or en plein air.
David Miller, Camden resident, is a retired history teacher. His ‘Maine Musing’ blog that he has been writing for the past 4 years covers a vast range of informative topics. He was first introduced to the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood at the Tate Gallery in London when he began the initial tenure as a secondary teacher in an international school in London. Forty years later he is still intrigued by them and this time was energized to do more research after another English trip. His secondary history focus is the prime motivator but travels with students on study trips with his wife, Mary, an art history teacher, allowed the two of them to combine history, artists’ lives and knowledge of the changing techniques and characteristics in the world of painting, the advances in science, the changing political times and the social transformations that occurred through all of these confluencing forces. The PRB offer an excellent opportunity to study art within this radically changing context in mid-century Europe.
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