Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Mas­ters

Move­ment un­masked This in­sight­ful book ex­plains all that you need to know about the in­flu­en­tial 19th cen­tury art fac­tion

ImagineFX - - In Depth A Sense Of Wonder - Au­thor Melissa E Buron Pub­lisher Pres­tel Price £50 Web www.pres­tel.com

This in-depth ref­er­ence book ex­plains all you need to know about this in­flu­en­tial 19th cen­tury artis­tic fac­tion.

The more you learn about art his­tory, the bet­ter an artist you be­come. But the num­ber of truly great books about art move­ments are few and far be­tween. So it’s a de­light to dis­cover this in­for­ma­tive, ac­ces­si­ble and im­pres­sively sized hard­back. Even if you don’t know much about the Pre-Raphaelites, you’ll recog­nise at least some of their paint­ings from notebook cov­ers, post­cards and the like. But while the term Pre-Raphaelite is some­times (wrongly) used to de­scribe Bri­tish art from the sec­ond half of the 19th cen­tury, it was ac­tu­ally a group of artists – led by Wil­liam Hol­man Hunt, John Everett Mil­lais and Dante Gabriel Ros­setti – who were, para­dox­i­cally, try­ing to mod­ernise art by draw­ing on its past; most ob­vi­ously, Ital­ian art be­fore the time of Raphael.

Of course, it all gets more com­pli­cated than that, but this de­tailed vol­ume both ex­plains ev­ery­thing neatly and suc­cinctly, and of­fers use­ful side-by-side com­par­isons of 19th-cen­tury mas­ter­pieces with their 15th- and 16th-cen­tury Early Ital­ian and Dutch in­spi­ra­tions, so you can see ex­actly where the move­ment was com­ing from.

At £50, this book is cer­tainly ex­pen­sive, but it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing read, so con­sider it a good in­vest­ment in your art education.

La Ghirlan­data, painted by Dante Gabriel Ros­setti in 1873, is an em­bod­i­ment of love and beauty.

Wil­liam Hol­man Hunt’s The Hireling Shep­herd is his com­ment on mis­guided Chris­tian church de­bates.

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