Archive for the ‘Pre-Raphaelites’ Category

The Puerto Rican Pre-Raphaelites, and other Sunday items

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

The Telegraph has an interesting article about how a lot of Victorian and Eduardian paintings made it to Puerto Rico:
Pre-Raphaelites from Puerto Rico

On the day before he died of a heart attack in 1898, the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones was busy at work on The Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, a massive oil painting inspired by Malory in which a mortally wounded King Arthur is laid out on a bier.

The artist had been working for 17 years on his unfinished magnum opus, which had been commissioned in 1881 by George Howard, later ninth Earl of Carlisle, for the library at Naworth Castle in Cumberland.

But that was not where the painting ended up. For the past 45 years, the 21ft by 9ft canvas has hung in an obscure museum in the crumbling colonial town of Ponce on the south coast of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico.

The last time I was in Ponce it wasn’t crumbling, and this is what the Museo looks like. The museum is closed for repairs, which is why the paintings are on loan to the Tate in London.

The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon is a huge canvas, and when I lived in Puerto Rico I spent a lot of time enjoying its details. This (and The Avengers) was the start of my Anglophilia. After I had moved away from Puerto Rico, graduated from college and started working, one day I decided I would study one art movement in detail and chose the Pre-Raphaelites which – as far as art movements go – were a small group. I spent my first trip to England visiting the Tate, Lord Leighton’s house and other locales related to the Pre-Raphaelites.

Of course some of their stuff is best described as “Victorian monstruosities”, but that only adds to the fun.

I have forgotten most of what I studied then. Time flew while I was having fun, for sure.

While not a Pre-Raphaelite, Lord Leighton’s masterpiece Flaming June was also exhibited in the same room at the Museo de Ponce. Unfortunately the drama of the painting is greatly reduced by photography and by not showing it framed. Frames are an important element in Victorian and Eduardian painting, especially in the case of the Pre-Raphaelites who included some of their poetry in the frame. They in turn inspired William Morris, the creator of the Arts and Crafts movement.

The Puerto Rican Pre-Raphaelites will be in loan to the Tate in London until February next year.


The WSJ’s Five Best Books, on New York society, selected by Frances Kiernan:

(As a side note, when entering “Washington Square” in the Amazon search, it yielded “Good In Bed”, not quite what one expects.)


Today’s shoes:
Ralph Lauren Women’s Nadine Wedge Pump in navy,


Pat has the Carnival of the Insanities. Go check it out.

More blogging later.


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Catholic Blair? Catholic Pre-Raphaelites?

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Tony Blair to become Catholic Deacon?, asks The Anchoress

There’s talk afloat that when he leaves office, Tony Blair may not simply become a Catholic, but that he may become a Permanent Deacon, as well

Athos of The Three Massketeers has an interesting new theory about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

But the most important piece of evidence that the PRB was not merely a romantic sigh for a lost Medievalism, I think, is the first point above. It was the Brotherhood’s agreement to cloak their identity in a kind of counter-Protestant Reformation mentality, artistry, and loyalty. It was just sufficiently obscure and forthright that a curious investigator could easily connect the historical “dots” but most would not.

He does raise an interesting point. Any art scholars out there?