Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

The imagery and the symbology are the important element to me when looking at the work of the pre-Raphaelite. The work of Rossetti in particular gives the appearance of religious icons in his use of gold and composition. I was able to view a couple of PRB paintings recently in the Manchester Art Gallery. In putting these images together in my blog i had taken a new-found interest in these artists so it was good to see the paintings in real life. Two of these are ‘The light of the world’  and ‘The Hireling Shepherd’ by William Holman Hunt.

William Holman Hunt - The light of the world

 The painting on display at the Manchester Art gallery belonging to Rossetti was ‘The Bower Meadow’. Along with their passion for symbology part of the reason i love these paintings is the feeling of symmetry. With my own work i have always fought with the idea of symmetry and how a piece of work balances. The bower meadow shows this off to great effect in its composition.

Dante Gabrielle Rossetti - The bower meadow

Dante Rossetti - Venus Verticordia

 Rossetti’s painting  ‘Venus Verticordia’ to me is just a very beautiful painting but it has been interesting to discover just some of the symbology used in it. As its title suggests this picture is about love and was linked to a sonnet by Rossetti. Venus is the ancient goddess of love who is surrounded by red roses also representing love. The apple and the arrow represent the sin of love with the arrow also pointing to her heart. The paleness of her skin is to represent purity and the butterflies portraying freedom. This by no means captures all the elements of this work but for me it helps me to see these pictures in a new light.

John William waterhouse

These images have influenced me in the past as you can see from one of my earlier sketches. At the time i was as much interested in the mark-making process and the figures just seemed to appear. It shows how things can influence you sometimes without you realising it.

Crispin Owen - sketch


2 Responses to Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

  1. Hi! I hope you don’t mind, I liked your post on the Pre-Raphaelites and I quoted your comments about Venus Verticordia on my blog. Please let me know if you are happy/want me to remove it.
    Many thanks

    • Melanie

      I have no problem with you using information from my blog and i am glad that you found it interesting. The more you find out about the hidden messages the more intersting it becomes.


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