The Pre-Raphaelite Lens

The Pre-Raphaelite Lens : British Photography and Painting, 1848-1875

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As photography steadily gained a foothold in the 1840s, a group of British painters calling themselves the Pre-Raphaelites came of age. Answering John Ruskin's call to study nature, 'rejecting nothing, selecting nothing, and scorning nothing,' these young painters were also spurred on by the possibilities of the new medium (introduced in 1839), particularly its ability to capture every nuance, every detail. And yet, the Pre-Raphaelites' debt to photography has barely been acknowledged. From photography, painters learned to see anew: adapting such radical qualities as abrupt cropping, planar recession, and a lack of modulation between forms, painters made their art modern, sometimes shockingly so. Photographers in turn looked to Pre-Raphaelite visual strategies and subject matter - mined from literature, history, religion - to secure,' as Julia Margaret Cameron wrote, 'the character and uses of High Art.' These artists developed a shared vocabulary - featuring light and minute detail as an emblem of visual truth - which helped launch realism as the century's dominant visual mode. 'Exactness,' a critic affirmed in 1856, 'is the tendency of the age.'This volume explores the rich dialogue between photography and painting through the themes of landscape, portraiture, literary and historical narratives and modern-life subjects. These artists - from photographers Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Henry Peach Robinson and Oscar Gustave Rejlander, to such painters as John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and John William Inchbold - not only had much in common, but also upended traditional approaches to making more

Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 238 x 294 x 26mm | 1,560.35g
  • Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 198 colour and 3 b&w illustrations
  • 1848220677
  • 9781848220676
  • 514,930

Review quote

'Although generally considered to be a movement associated solely with painting, the Pre-Raphaelites can be shown to have been profoundly affected by the invention of photography from the 1840s onwards. This groundbreaking book traces these influences and affinities through a close examination of both paintings and photographs. The book is well illustrated and, with its many scholarly essays, will remain a useful reference work for many years to come.' Arlis 'full of images which reward long study.' Albion Magazine Online 'It is thoroughly refreshing to discover a revealing new study which adds considerably to our knowledge and understanding of this movement within the context of the artists' contemporary world, and which sets out to juxtapose two distinct art forms in search of a unifying harmony.' Albion Magazine Online 'The five scholarly essays in this lavishly illustrated book are the first attempt to thoroughly explore the cross-pollination that occurred between the two mediums of painting and photography. This approach is overdue and significant given the mainstream recognition of photography as a fine art medium for the last two decades ...this focus serves to give photography the scrutiny more commonly devoted to other art forms and brings out the unique contribution this medium has made to the history of art.' Cassoneshow more

Table of contents

Contents: Foreword; Lenders to the Exhibition; Note to the Reader; Introduction - Uncomprising Truth: Photography and Pre-Raphaelitism, Diane Waggoner; An Antidote to Mechanical Poison: Ruskin, Photography, and Early Pre-Raphaelite Painting, Tim Barringer; Minute Details (plates 1-27); "Certain Dark Rays of the Sunbeam": Sunlight and the Decomposition of Landscape, Jennifer L. Roberts; Natural Effects (plates 28-49); From the Life: Portraiture in the 1860s, Diane Waggoner; Portraits and Studies (plates 50-74); "Like a Lionardo": Exchanges between Julia Margaret Cameron and the Rossetti Brothers, Joanne Lukitsh; Poetic Subjects (plates 75-103); Show and Tell: Narrative in Victorian Art, Britt Salvesen; Romance and Modern Life (plates 104-125); Select Bibliography; Acknowledgements; Index; Photography more

About Diane Waggoner

Diane Waggoner is Associate Curator in the Department of Photographs at the National Gallery of Art. Tim Barringer is the Paul Mellon Professor of the History of Art at Yale University. Joanne Lukitsh is Professor of Art History at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Jennifer L. Roberts is the Gardner Cowles Associate Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Britt Salvesen is Department Head and Curator of the Wallis Annenberg Photography Department at the Los Angeles County Museum of more

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