Beauty’s Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites at National Gallery of Canada
It was an artistic rebellion that rocked the British art world in the Victorian era — a group of young artists rejected the way they were being taught at the influential Royal Academy and banded together to create art that is the focus of a new exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada.
They called themselves the Pre-Raphaelites, rejecting the Royal Academy’s focus on the renaissance and casting back in time for influences.
Beauty’s Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contempories at the National Gallery of Canada showcases 120 drawings, sketches and paintings from the collection of Saskatoon dentist Dennis T. Lanigan.
“They wanted to really focus on an earlier era and that’s why we associate the Pre-Raphaelites with a more medievalist aesthetic,” said the exhibition’s curator Sonia Del Re.
The Pre-Raphaelites were dedicated to beauty and colour, and classical themes, inspired by both biblical stories and myth.
The exhibition includes work from prominent Pre-Raphaelites Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Edward Burne-Jones among others.
They were known during their time, not only for their arts, but for their counter culture lifestyle, as Sonia Del Re remarks in this clip below.
The entire Lanigan collection of Pre-Raphael art has been donated to the National Gallery of Canada, a legacy that resonates with the history of the gallery, said Del Re.
“The gallery was founded by the Governor General of Canada in 1880, and his wife Princess Louise who was the daughter of Queen Victoria. They established the National Gallery, they first asked their friends in Britain to provide the National Gallery with their paintings, and so many of the artists represented in this show gave the gallery their first European masterpieces, so its a really nice way to reflect on our own history,” said Del Re.
The exhibition opens on Friday Oct. 9, and runs until Jan. 3, 2016.