It was on three wet and cold Sunday afternoons as Tasmania and Australia moved first closer to and then beyond the winter solstice---that I learned a few things about art history. What I learned was about an art movement known as the Pre-Raphaelites.
My wife usually watches Aussie rules on Sunday afternoons and I write in my study. I often go downstairs to make a cup-of-coffee and have a snack in the late afternoon. I see how she is doing; I wash a few dishes and have a break from my writing and reading. As I walked across the lounge-room on these 3 occasions, these 3 Sunday afternoons, I chanced upon these ABC1 half hour programs entitled: The Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Revolutionaries.(1) I did not get to see all of them during what were essentially chance-encounters, but my whistle was whetted and the result is this prose-poem.-Ron Price with thanks to (1)ABC1, 4:30 to 5:00 p.m., 19 June to 10 July 2011; and Desperate Romantics, a six-part drama, follows on BBC Two in July 2011.
The name John Ruskin caught my ear
as this focus on individual artists doing
their own thing, their own ideas and….
methods of depiction with freedom and
responsibility being inseparable and the
emphasis on the spiritual nature-character
of art---and all of this taking place in those
transforming 1840s…….That was a decade,
mirabile dictu.(1) I will not list all the events
of that incredible decade; it is not surprising
that this art movement had its start especially
in 1848 (2) the year of European revolutions.
What, for some, was the main event, hardly known,
in Tabarsi when 313 men withstood forces of 1000s
of the Shah’s men under the black standard----was
unbeknownst to that wider-western-world(3), & it is
still mostly, mostly unknown; as is the pre-Raphaelite
movement: “such is life,” as that Australian outlaw....
Ned Kelly once said in 1880 on his way to the gallows.
(1) A Latin expression I first came across while studying Latin in high school: 1958 to 1963, and meaning ‘marvellous to relate.’
(2) Franny Moyle, “Pre-Raphaelite art: the paintings that obsessed the Victorians,” The Telegraph, 3 July 2011. Go to the following link for this excellent article:
(3) Nabil, The Dawn-Breakers, Wilmette, Illinois, Baha’i Publishing Trust, 1974(1932).
19 June 2011 to 3 July 2011