Talk:Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

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Old stuff, 2004-2005[edit]

This sentence is rather unclear:

The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who followed the concept of painting prevalent before the High Renaissence and artists like Raphael and Michelangelo. Hence the name 'Pre-Raphaelite'.

It seems to say the Mannerist artists painted in the style prevalent before the High Renaissence, which surely can't be right. -- Tarquin 11:08, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

perhaps it is supposed to be after the reaissance? That would make sense.

Yes, it's utter and complete gibberish. This is the sentence as I originally wrote it: "The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets and critics whose intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who followed Raphael and Michelangelo. Hence the name 'Pre-Raphaelite'." Some idiot has rewritten it. There is also a lot of other nonsense here about the 'high point of English art in the middle ages', and about varnishing between layers of pigment - which has nothing to do with the PRB whatever and is historically false. This article needs to be completely re-written. Paul B

Jane Morris[edit]

There's no "may have" about Rossetti's affair with Jane Morris; it is thoroughly documented. I gave her the dignity of mentioning her name and added a link to Jane Burden. PKM 21:18, 23 July 2005 (UTC)

No it isn't. I think they provbably did have sex, but there is no proof. It's not "thoroughly documented", IMO. Evidence? Paul B 23:59 23 july 2005 (UTC)

Related to Art nouveau?[edit]

Maybe it's just the first (Persephone) and last (Medea) painting in the article, but it seems like the style was similar/predecessor to art nouveau. Is it just coincidence? 02:44, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

No coincidence. The Rossetti wing of PR style influenced the development of Art nouveau. Paul B 09:19, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Technical Question[edit]

I tried searching "Preraphaelite" with no results, but eventually found this site. Might we link "Preraphaelite" with this page in some way, for those who search without the hyphen (which is not entirely standard, in my experience, at least regarding Prepraphaelite literature). Antonio Giusti 06:19, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Antonio Giusti

The hyphen is standard in modern literature, though there are some old books that use the unhypenated version (and even preraffaelite or pre-raffaelite). However, I have created redirect links for Preraphaelite and Preraphaelites. Paul B 11:27, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. Antonio Giusti 19:10, 21 January 2007 (UTC)Antonio Giusti

Not Pre-Raphaelite?[edit]

Re the deletion below, I don't know all these artists, but aren't F. Leighton and Waterhouse commonly considered among the Pre-Raphaelite school? Museums certainly present them as though they are when displaying their work. Should this deletion be restored, or is there some fine distinction being drawn here of which I'm unaware?

Loosely associated artists

Antonio Giusti 03:31, 2 February 2007 (UTC)Antonio Giusti

Some anonymous IP deleted it. It might have been pure vandalism, but no professional art historian would call F. Leighton a "Pre-Raphaelite"; he wasn't thought to be one at the time, and he didn't think of himself as one. Waterhouse is often described as such, but his actual style is very ifluenced by Bastien Lepage and the "square brush" school. The probem is that almost any artist of the period who painted dreamy medieval subjects or mythic themes is popularly labelled a Pre-Raphaelite. I'm in two minds about whther the list should stay or go. Paul B 10:32, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I figured it was something like that -- eg the way people commonly use the term "impressionism" too broadly and inclusively. Why not add a small clarification about the term, including the info above? Many might find it of interest. Antonio Giusti 17:03, 3 February 2007 (UTC)Antonio Giusti

French article[edit]

The title on the French Wikipedia article is "The Pre-Raphaelism".

It is a pure neologism, isn't it ?

That term denies absolutely the idea of fraternity and collaboration, I think.

One cannot criticize the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood even if they knew some tightenings with each other.

The right translation should be "La Fraternité Pre-Raphaëlite" or something like that. ( "Confrérie" is word very much too conventionnal, and formal. )

What is your viewpoint ?

Maybe you don't speak french, do you ?

Glad for earring from you,

Ceeloo (talk) 13:16, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I don't speak French very well, even though I live some of the year there. However, the French should decide for themselves what they should call it. It's a matter of accepted convention. Paul B (talk) 13:08, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
As Paul B stated before: I think that it's up to the French Wikipedia's authors to decide this, but my personal opinion is that the article's title should not be a “correct” translation of Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but the established name for these painters in France.
I'm a German, so at least I know that the conventional german term is de:Präraffaeliten. To be more precise, “Präraffaeliten” denotes the painters making pictures in this very style, and “Präraffaelitische Bruderschaft” is used as translation for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood itself—the latter is a subsection of the german article. I do not speak well enough french, but from the links fr:Préraphaélisme#Liens externes and the article fr:Préraphaélisme itself, I assume that its the same in French: «Préraphaélisme» is the name of the style in French, and «La fraternité pré-raphaélite» is the usual translation of the brotherhood itself. But I see, you're from France, so maybe you can proof this better than I do.
(By the way, here you find help how to sign your contributions, this will generate a link to your user page. I have modified your manual signature under your contribution in this way now, I hope that was ok.)
Hope, this clarifies somewhat the problem with the brotherhood. --Cyfal (talk) 18:14, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


Johnbod changed the following sentences with the following edit summary "Raphael is the antithesis of mannerism, which hardly needed reacting against in 1848!":

The group's intention was to reform art by rejecting what they considered to be the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who followed Raphael and Michelangelo. They believed that the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on academic teaching of art. Hence the name "Pre-Raphaelite". In particular they objected to the influence of Sir Joshua Reynolds, the founder of the English Royal Academy of Arts.

He replaced 'Mannerism' with 'Academicism'. I've partly reverted, but changed "followed" with "succeeded", since the former word was ambiguous and could mean either "came after" or "imitated". I'm not sure that Raphael can be considered the antithesis of Mannerism, since the Transfiguration is widely seen as proto-Mannerist. I can see good reason for the change, however, but still feel that "academic" is far too vague a concept here. The reason they chose to imagine themselves as "pre-Raphael" is that the Mannerist style inaugurated a form of art that fed on a kind of visual commentary on pre-existing styles. Mannerism was widely seen as the prototype of artistic "degeneration" by the rejection of naturalism in favour of self-conscious stylishness. That's the essential nature of the PR claim, and of Ruskin's criticisms of post-Raphael artists, many of which are not in any definable sense "academic". Paul B (talk) 10:01, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

It is a bit clearer now, although it still is likely to give the careless or ignorant reader the impression that Mannerists were stalking the streets of 1840s London. On Raphael, proto-Baroque certainly, but I agree with this chap "not even in the last touches from Raphael's brush in the Transfiguration does he disclose the slightest departure in the direction of Mannerism ...". Moses and Elijah were just tall in my view. :) Johnbod (talk) 14:43, 6 December 2007 (UTC)
I notice Malcolm Warner says somewhere they should really have called themselves the "Anti-Raphaelites", as far as his mature work is concerned. Johnbod (talk) 16:38, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

New Template[edit]

I've created a new template for The PRB - it looks like this:

In another month or so I might get around to setting up a task force under WP Visual Arts for the brotherhood. I.M.S. (talk) 20:36, 10 October 2009 (UTC)


These claims about William James Blacklock have now been reverted by 3 editors including myself. There are not referenced, seem to depend on a single (unpublished?) piece of research, and certainly have not been shown to reflect the vast amount of PRB scholarship. They clearly breach WP:UNDUE. I suggest any claims advanced about Blacklock are first clearly set out, explained and referenced at his article, and then raised at talk here first so any addition here has consensus. Incidently they are extremely carelessly written, which does not help. Johnbod (talk) 18:07, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Fred Walters[edit]

Should not Fred Walters be mentioned as one of the members or at least hangabouts? -pernys32 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:49, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Fred Walters was an imaginary character created for the TV series Desperate Romantics. He was essentially a combination of Fred Stephens and William Rossetti. Paul B (talk) 15:37, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Pre-Raphaelite purism[edit]

This article includes the following extract whose actual veracity I do not deny: - "Dante Gabriel Rossetti became the link to the two different types of Pre-Raphaelite painting (nature vs. Romance) after the PRB became lost in the late 1800s. Rossetti, although the least committed to the brotherhood, continued the name and changed the Brotherhoods style drastically. He began painting versions of femme fatales using models like Jane Morris, in paintings such as: Proserpine, ..."

According to one's taste, the Proserpine picture may be beautiful, and its format fits well at the start of the article. However, I suggest the start of the article should be accompanied by one of the three pictures mentioned under the heading "Public debate." These show what pre-raphaelitism meant to the idealist young artists at the beginning of the movement, whereas "Proserpine" is a relatively late Rossetti, and would have been felt by some of the PRB themselves to have betrayed those ideals.

The current PR Exhibition at Tate takes my line, showing an actual pre-raphael painting by de Monacco alongside early PRB works. I believe that although obviously still of great merit, Rossetti's late works are degenerate and what we would now term a "sell out" of the early brotherhood's ideals. Go and see the show in London if you can and please consider my suggestion. It would only entail some rearranging. Dendrotek 14:17, 2 November 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dendrotek (talkcontribs)

Yes, Proserpina is relatively late Rossetti, though I certainly would not consider it "degenerate" - a rather unfortuately loaded term in art history (see degenerate art). One could as easily call it "mature". The lead image should be the epitome of the concept, not represent the earliest forms of it. I'm not wedded to Proserpina as a lead image, but it does epitomise the kind of art meant by the term "Pre-Raphaelite". Earlier images were closer to the Nazarenes, the German Romantic print tradition and to inherited conventions of "history painting". You could call then proto-Pre-Raphaelite (if you really linked hyphens), just as early sketchy works by Monet have elements of full-blown Impressionism, but also inherit the established modes of landscape sketching. We wouldn't use a painting by the 20 year old Monet as the lead image to epitomise Impressionism. I don't know who believed that Rossetti "betrayed" any ideals. Yes, Hunt disliked the sensuality of late Rossetti, but that was mainly because he was prig. It was for moral reasons, predominently: though of course Hunt always equated the moral and the aesthetic. Ruskin always admired Rossetti, though he had reservations, as he did with regard to both the other leading PRs. Even Millais, whose late work is furthest from the early style of the Brotherhood, was often praised by Ruskin in the 1880s. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the 2012 show takes "your line". Paul B (talk) 16:30, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi Paul - thanks for responding - glad somebody cares! Please bear in mind that this is all just "Talk Page" stuff. Re-read carefully what I wrote - the context of The current PR Exhibition at Tate takes my line, showing an actual pre-Raphael painting by de Monacco alongside early PRB works. Now - this is a fact, not a judgement on my part. By Early PRB works, I mean ones actually monogrammed PRB - I think there were only about a dozen such paintings - it can be looked up - and it was all over by 1852, when the sculptor Thomas Woolner, one of the PRB founders, emigrated to Australia. There is a poem all about the diaspora of the Brotherhood, which was published in Germ, by Christina Rossetti. Would be a useful addition to the article. Maybe I'm a prig like Holman Hunt - I did say it depends upon one's taste! But seriously, one shouldn't use such terms lightly for people who were three or four generations ago. For another what you call prig by the way, read about Ruskin's personal life - albeit a genius. In supporting your argument by the Impressionism comparison, you are hoist by your own petard! Take a look at the Wikipedia article on Impressionism (painting) and you will see that right at the top, it supported by Claude Monet's 1872 ″Impression, soleil levant″ (Impression sunrise). The very first work labelled ″Impressionist.″ Quite right - again in my opinion! Rossetti's Ecce Ancilla and Millais' Christ in the house of his parents would be my candidates for the top of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood article, and then we should move Proserpine down into a lower section with as good an explanation as can be agreed about Pre-Raphaelitism's Second Phase. Whether or not you think Rossetti was degenerate by then, he was certainly painting women making them appear sensuous, for money, being paid by wealthy Victorian patrons - again fact, not prejudice. However I would be careful how to phrase this in an actual article, because again one must respect Rossetti's genius. The two paintings I suggest using at the top are both already in Wiki Commons. Mentioning the Impressionism Article by the way - it is a much better planned and written article than this. The unfortunate thing here was a mistake at the start, when an article that has expanded widely into a treatise on Preraphaelitism, began with a title referring to the Brotherhood. The best solution would be to split the Brotherhood subject out into a new article, and to re-title this one. But I fear this would be a nightmare dealing with Wiki patrolling editors and Referees. Probably - life is too short! Which side of the pond do you live, by the way? Happy Easter, Dendrotek 23:25, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

"The Pre-Raphaelites" is normally used to cover the work of the Brotherhood's members (and some others) for a long period after the PRB itself broke up; I don't see much point in an article only on PRB production as strictly defined. A name change might help if this is really an issue, but I don't think it is. Johnbod (talk) 00:52, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
I live in Britain. Believe it or not, I did check what was the lead image in Impressionism before writing this, so there is no need to be so smug. I was referring to early works by Monet when he was (about) the same age as the PRB when they created their early monogrammed works. Impression: Sunrise was painted when he was 31. The term "Pre-Raphaelite" obviously has a different history from "Impressionist", as it was a label adopted by the Brotherhood. What they meant by it was, of course, devotion to "Pre-Raphael" works. It was not the name of a new "style". When "Pre-Raphaelite" becomes a term for a style of art it has evolved in a similar way to "Impressionism" (which doesn't mean any painting that tries to give an "impression" of something, but rather a specific movement in art). I don't think we can define Pre-Raphaelitism as works that try to imitate 15th century art (after all there is really very little real similarity between Lorenzo Monaco and early PRB works). But that's a subject for a dissertation in itself. I've no idea what being paid by wealthy patrons has to do with anything. Do you think Holman Hunt didn't make money from his paintings? He made very effective business deals. The one who was least financially secure was Madox Brown.
On your main point, I think that it would be possible to have a separate article on the Brotherhood, as well as a main one on Pre-Raphaelitism. The one on the brotherhood culd go into detail about the foundation of the group, the debates, the early works etc. Paul B (talk) 12:59, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Since, as is probably apparent, I am passionate about them, to me a name change on the Article would be an excellent solution. Under the title "The Pre-Raphaelites" we can distinguish the Bretheren's output (i.e. what I originally called ″Purist PRB″) up to the divergences of 1852, and then sub-title and improve the ongoing phases. William Morris, for example, is certainly a Pre-Raphaelite, but no way is he a member of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This is not me being pedantic, but a matter of fact supported by numerous respected and published art historians e.g. OD Art, ODNB, Grove etc. Those in North America may like to see what Delaware says. Of course, The Pre-Raphaelites' influence on English art has been huge and extends well into the Edwardian and George V time e.g. see current exhibition entitled ″A Pre-Raphaelite Journey: Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale″ on at the Watts Gallery in Surrey She was wording around 1910 - 20. The influence remains strong e.g. in Stanley Spencer (whose father believed Ruskin was the bees knees) and even in some living artists e.g. Hockney's current work in N.E. Yorkshire. How does one go about doing a Wikipedia Article Title change? It must obviously have ramifications. Dendrotek 13:01, 31 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dendrotek (talkcontribs)

Dendrotek, you really don't need to tell me or Johnbod that Morris was not a member of the brotherhood as such. The fact is in the article, after all, and we do have some knowledge of the topic. And, yes, you are right about the continuing influence in the 20th century, an under-researched topic. Even British Pop art shows an influence, and of course there is the Brotherhood of Ruralists. Paul B (talk) 13:22, 31 March 2013 (UTC)


Does anyone know WHY they wanted to do the art as they described? I have heard that they wanted to record nature accurately becuase at that time there was great interest in natural history and no cameras to record it. Did they ever say WHY?

IceDragon64 (talk) 23:47, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes, there were cameras. Photography was invented in 1839. The PRB was founded in 1848. To some extent they were influenced by the particular 'look' of early photographs. Holman Hunt wrote a very long book called Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in which he explained why they did it - though it obviously promotes his own viewpoint. You can read it here: [1]. Or you could read Ruskin's essay Pre-Raphaelitism, explaining the aims of the movement from his perspective [2]. The other two stars of the group, Millais and Rossetti, weren't much interested in theories, but you can read the brotherhood's debates in the Pre-Raphaelite Journal, though that's not online. Paul B (talk) 15:45, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Hi, Ice Dragon, Do you not find that the article as present written already explains this sufficiently well, particularly the Section entitled Early Doctrines? If you don't think so, and could explain what mystifies you, perhaps we could insert another sentence or two. I'd also like some responses to my comment above about Pre-Raphaelite Purism. I'd like to move the Proserpine painting down to lower in the article - N.B. certainly NOT delete it - and put in one of the early PRB pictures (one of those actually bearing the PRB monogram) in at the start. There are several of them already in Wiki Commons, so this would be quite a simple task. I invite anyone who is not sure whether this is proper to look at the painting date of Proserpine and perhaps the Wiki Article on D G Rossetti.

In the longer term, a short new section in this article on Botanical Realism might be a good idea. There is plenty of citable evidence and interesting facts. Dendrotek 21:18, 28 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dendrotek (talkcontribs)

The article could certainly be longer - that's for sure. I've replied to your points above. Paul B (talk) 16:32, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

Article name change to “The Pre-Raphaelites”[edit]

I would like to try to explain better my views about the alternative titles “The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” or “The Pre-Raphaelites” and to convince other Users/Editors to agree to an Article Title Change, to simply “The Pre-Raphaelites” Or even just “Pre-Raphaelites” if Wikipedia guidelines prefer omitting “The …”

I don’t want to spar with others on side issues, particularly with Paul B who is fond of the subject, like myself. I’m sorry if through my enthusiasm I started any of it. If we had a chat in a pub about the “Pre-Raphaelites,” no doubt it would be friendly and we could debate matters without getting into inflamed language such as “prig,” “smug” or even “idiot”! - Let’s try and keep it that way here.
Only the first four sub-headings of the present article actually deal with the PRB days – roughly the first third of the article. Grove, for instance, dates the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) days as between 1848 and 1853, which is fair enough and more or less accords with the present version of the Wikipedia Article, although the latter date maybe wants adding at or near the end of the “Public controversy” section. Proposal: - “After the controversy <give date, citing Michael Rossetti>, Collinson left the brotherhood and the remaining members met to discuss whether he should be replaced by Charles Allston Collins …”
Obviously, it is agreed that Morris was never an original member of the Brotherhood – defined as those who used the monogram. I believe Rossetti first met him in Oxford? Yet an article on “The Pre-Raphaelites” without including Morris would be seriously deficient. Likewise, without Edward Burne-Jones, to give another example. Hence, these two and others of the second and further phases certainly do not belong under a heading “The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” but most definitely DO belong under “Pre-Raphaelites.”
About the art itself:- In Talk on 4 August 2006, Paul B wrote about what he termed “The Rossetti wing of PR style …” in a discussion on possible connection to Art Nouveau. So perhaps Paul could agree that there is little comparison between A) Late Rossetti paintings such as Proserpine, Beata Beatrice and Fiammetta on the one hand and B) Early PRB monogrammed paintings on the other e.g. Rossetti’s own Girlhood of Mary and Ecce Ancilla plus the early PRB works of Millais – Isabella, Christ in the house; early Holman Hunt – e.g. Hireling Shepherd. A) and B) are like chalk and cheese. Indeed, the various PRB works I have just mentioned under B) are more similar to one another in style, philosophy and technique than any of them are to A) – i.e. Rossetti’s “sensuous women” paintings. That’s where I came in to Talk firstly, by suggesting that the Proserpine painting would belong better lower down in the Article. I still firmly believe this.
Now, a few “Technical Question” issues: - In Wikipedia Searches, the term “Preraphaelites” at present redirects to “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.” I see that Paul B did this on 21 Jan 2007, so that those users searching with “Preraphaelites” wouldn’t get lost. That was helpful. Searching using the term “Pre-Raphaelite” at present auto-completes with “…Brotherhood,” so as Wikipedia is currently set up, we are stuck with this title.
Now, I have become convinced through these discussions that the only practical solution is the relatively simple one of Article Name Change. A subsidiary linked Article just on the Brotherhood is simply not going to happen and besides, we couldn’t just cut out all the “Early days” stuff from the preset Article. So once again, I ask, what does a name change entail? Do e.g. Paul B and/or Johnbod know? Would they like me to seek advice in general Help or Reference Desk areas? It will clearly cause potential internal Wikipedia linkage problems but maybe some clever “Wiki-Techies” can fix this with a “bot” or something – whatever that is!?

Dendrotek 22:08, 31 March 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dendrotek (talkcontribs)

C-Class rating[edit]

I note that this Article has thus been rated. How does one find the criticism/suggestions? I would be interested gradually to work on improving it, but without a crit, it is unhelpful. Is there an alternative such as submitting it for a Review?Dendrotek 12:31, 11 December 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dendrotek (talkcontribs)