Pre-raphaelite naturalists

DEFINITION

A mid 19th-century movement in England, it spread to America. The name "Pre-Raphael" means artwork which was done previous to the influence of the Italian painter, Raphael, who lived from 1483 to 1520, and who defied traditional realistic painting and injected grandeur or imagination into his portraits and religious depictions. In England, the leader and founder of the Pre-Raphaelite movement was John Ruskin, whose book "Modern Painters" was a guiding source. The underlying idea was to study nature closely and then create art that emulated nature---exactly. Resulting were many realistic still lifes, landscapes and figure paintings, done with avoidance of exuberant, historical, narrative genre, which had so dominated European art. However, many viewers found the Pre-Raphaelite work tedious because of the obsession with staying close to nature and avoidance of injecting imagination. American artists who subscribed to the movement included William Trost Richards, Thomas Charles Farrer, John William Hill, John Henry Hill, Charles Herbert Moore, Henry Roderick Newman and Robert J. Pattison. Many of their paintings were in watercolor. Source: Grace Glueck, 'Art: The American Pre-Raphaelites', "The New York Times", October 11, 2006

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