Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weekend Leftovers: Pre-Raphaelites at the Tate Britain

Spent a good chunk of the past weekend in London;  The Hubs's sister and her partner were in town for the day and they were very kind to get us a room at the same hotel they were staying at.  It was more of a business trip for them, so while they were doing their thing, The Hubs and I did some sight-seeing.  It was actually our second visit to London, having seen both the National Gallery and the British Museum.  This time around, I insisted on going to the Tate Britain, where a good number of my all-time favorite Pre-Raphaelite paintings live.

We had spent the first half hour getting lost among the Tate Britain's displays, like the Turner Collection.  There was also a small but significant exhibit of Pre-Raphaelites Works on Paper which was for me sort of a teaser for what I really wanted to see.  I loved the almost delicate prep sketches for bigger works, and you can't help but lean in close to see all the detail.  Meanwhile, in an adjoining room, The Hubs was enthralled with the small William Blake collection.  My only peeve is that Blake's work is displayed in a dim room, with dark navy walls.  Some of his paintings do stand out powerfully in this environment while others I had to lean in to see some of the detail.  The Hubs was able to make out some things that I couldn't at first glance, cuz he has perfect 20/20 vision, and I have pretty eyes that don't work.

After 30 minutes of general waffling about, we finally made it to THAT ROOM.  The minute I stepped in, I wore the stupidest smile on my face.

William Holden Hunt's The Awakening Conscience.

Arthur Hughes's The Eve of St. Agnes.

Sir John Millais's Christ in the House of His Parents.  I had first seen this painting in a coffee table book back when I was in high school, then much later in a Pre-Raphaelite documentary.  Back in the day, Millais received a whole lotta grief from both the critics and the public because he brazenly depicted The Lord and his family in a dirty ole' carpenter's shop.  Whatev.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's The Annunciation, another painting from the same coffee table book I looked at back in high school.

Another one of Rossetti, The Beloved.

John William Waterhouse's The Lady of Shallot.   Seeing this one, I had to have a moment.  Like, I had to sit down and have a bit of quiet time to let the giddiness settle.

Yeah, that didn't happen, because I spotted...

...Sir Edward Coley BURNE-JONES'S The Golden Stairs!!!  Am I yelling?  Sorry.  I was just so excited.  Paintings I'd only seen in books and online on other people's blogs, I was seeing in person, up close.  Really close.  And it was very exciting.   What could possibly top The Lady of Shallot and this?

Millais's Ophelia.

"That's it.  All other art is null and void." I practically declared after seeing Ophelia.  I took it back quickly though, after finding out that there were more Rossettis and more Burne-Joneses that had been removed and placed in a special exhibit, 'Painting With Light:  Art and Photography From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Modern Age'.  Unfortunately, you have to pay to see it, and for all my enthusiasm for everything Pre-Raphaelite, I decided to give it a pass.  The money went instead to feeding our faces at the museum cafe downstairs.

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