Monday, November 24, 2008

Pre-Raphaelites at the Tate Britain

Before I visited the Tate Britain I had pretty much decided that I did not like Pre-Raphaelite paintings. I don't know, there is just something about them that bugs me and I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it is because the women are so idealistic . . . but then so are the women in the other movements. I don't know, I just don't like the tone they give off and how they make me feel. And then I visited the Tate, and decided that . . . I still don't love Pre-Raphaelite painting. However, I did enjoy looking at some of the paintings and learning to appreciate some aspects of the art.

This painting is by Dante Gabriel Rossetti called Aurelia (Fazio's Mistress). This is the kind of work that I think of when I think of Pre-Raphaelite works. I think that it is so fascinating that they loved women's hair so much. We had an interesting discussion in class today about the importance of hair in this time period. Please note: blondes and redheads = angels, brown hair = sensible, and dark hair (like mine, I was used as an example in class) = the temptress, the skank, the dark and fallen woman. I usually identify a Pre-Raphaelite painting by the red, flowy hair found on the women. To me this painting is just a typical Pre-Raphaelite work that I don't love.

However, I do like this painting, Ecce Ancilla Domini, by Rossetti, though I probably would never put it in my house . . . it is good as far as Pre-Raphaelite works. What I like about this painting is the simplicity of the piece, a simple bed, two figures, a window, etc. However, the element I love most would have to be the color of the work. I love the simple white background with bursts of vivid blue and red and gold. The color drew my eye. I usually don't like halos either but they seem to work in this piece.
Although my visit to the Tate did not change my opinion on Pre-Raphaelite works, I really did enjoy looking at them and finding elements I did like. At times they seem cluttered but usually color was my one connection to the works I did like.

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