Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters

By Melissa E. Buron, Susanna Avery-Quash, Joanna Banham, Elise Effmann Clifford, Jeremy Melius, Elizabeth Prettejohn, Jason Rosenfeld, et al.

In 1848, seven British artists formed a secret alliance and declared themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Including William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, these young men rebelled against the style of art emulated by many of their nineteenth-century contemporaries, praising instead the works of earlier artists who preceded the Renaissance master Raphael and his followers—the “Raphaelites.” Known today for their jewellike palettes, finely detailed renderings, and highly sym­bolic subjects, the Pre-Raphaelites admired poetry and literature; early Italian and early Netherlandish art; tempera painting tech­niques; tapestries, stained glass, and other decorative arts; and, even­tually, even works from sixteenth-century Venetian artists who could be construed as “Post-Raphaelites.”

Published on the occasion of a major exhibition at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters is the first scholarly volume to focus extensively on the Pre-Raphaelites and their historical sources. Seven main essays and ten focus essays contextualize the compelling affinities and captivat­ing juxtapositions between the earlier and later artists. A catalogue of more than one hundred twenty beautiful plates offers readers the unique opportunity to draw comparisons between the rich imagery of the Pre-Raphaelites and the artists who inspired them.


Melissa E. Buron is director of the art division at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Susanna Avery-Quash is senior research curator at the National Gallery, London.

Joanna Banham is director of the Victorian Society in America’s Summer School, London, and an independent curator and lecturer.

Elise Effmann Clifford is head paintings conservator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Jeremy Melius is assistant professor of modern art at Tufts University, Medford/Somerville, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth Prettejohn is professor of history of art at the University of York.

Jason Rosenfeld is distinguished chair and professor of art history at Marymount Manhattan College, New York, and senior writer and editor at large at The Brooklyn Rail.

Robyn Asleson is associate curator of prints, drawings, and media arts at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Julian Cox is deputy director and chief curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.

Donato Esposito is an independent scholar specializing in British art from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Margaretta S. Frederick is the Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection at the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington.

Nenagh Hathaway is the Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Research Fellow in the Robert Lehman Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Bryan C. Keene is curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.

Jonathan K. Nelson is a faculty associate at Syracuse University in Florence, Italy.

Cassandra Sciortino is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture.

Rachel Sloan is assistant curator of works on paper at the Courtauld Gallery, London.

Abbie N. Sprague is an independent art historian specializing in nineteenth­-century British art and the history of tempera painting.

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