Thursday, 18 June 2009
Last night saw the beginning of the BBC documentary series The Pre-Raphaelites which you can still view on BBC iplayer. If you click on the title above it will take you straight there.
The series is produced by Franny Moyle, author of the book Desperate Romantics, and is a taster of what is to come in her forthcoming TV drama series of the same name. Desperate Romantics, the Drama and the book bring to life the relationships of the Pre-Raphaelites. This documentary series is more concerned with their art, described simply, and punchily with brief comments from well known Pre-Raphaelite Scholars like Alison Smith from the Tate, Jan Marsh the writer and Prof. Elizabeth Prettejohn. I presume it is an attempt inform us about the movement and to whet out appetites before the drama begins.
Episode 1 looks at the origins of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt. It discusses their first revolutionary paintings that hit the headlines and were received with horror, until John Ruskin came along to champion them. The programme explains that is was the Raphael-ites, the followers of Raphael who the PRB were turning away from, rather than Raphael himself who they saw as a great artist. The word "Audacious" seems to be the buzz word of the programme!
The next episode which looks at the way the PRB transformed landscape painting, ten years before the French Impressionists, and can be viewed on BBC 4 at 8.30 on Tuesday 23rd June and on Wednesday 24th June at 7.30pm.
The Rossetti painting above is entitled Ecce Ancilla Domini! Also known as The Annunciation. It shows Christina Rossetti posing as the Virgin Mary in what was to be a highly criticised work depicting the religious story in a naturalistic and symbolic way, which was very shocking to a Victorian public. It was also one of Rossetti's series of "white Pictures" experimenting with luminous white backgrounds a direct reversal of the dark murky style the Royal Academy preferred for imitating old masters.
Posted by Teresa Howard at Thursday, June 18, 2009