The Pre-Raphaelite movement drew inspiration from history, literature and religion to create detailed, colourful compositions dense with symbolic meaning. From Shakespeare’s tragic-romantic characters to Tennyson’s Arthurian maidens, and Victorian narratives of fallen women and moral conduct, their works combined medieval romanticism and modern life anchored to female beauty, sexual yearning and altered states of consciousness.
The National Gallery of Australia presents ‘Love & Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate’, exclusive to Canberra from 14 December to 28 April 2019. The exhibition includes some of Tate Britain’s most iconic paintings of the period, alongside 40 loans from British and Australian collections. Together they form an impressive survey of the 1848 movement: its themes, different styles, draughtsmanship and fondness for collaboration.