In 1855, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris, student friends at Oxford, decided to abandon their theological studies and become artists. They turned for guidance to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a leader of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which was a group of English painters, poets, and critics who rejected the mechanistic approach of the artists who succeeded Raphael and Michelangelo.
Over the past century, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has assembled a modest, yet varied and surprisingly cohesive group of objects representing the accomplishments of this extraordinary trio and their circle.
Webb Cabinet "The Backgammon Players"
The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy: British Art and Design features approximately 30 objects from across the museum including paintings, drawings, furniture, textiles, stained glass, and illustrated books highlighting this key period when the Pre-Raphaelite vision was adapted and transformed. Select loans from private collections also enhance the presentation.
Burne Jones' Angeli Laudantes
The group was said to have galvanized British painting by rejecting academic convention and sought to emulate the vividness and sincerity of art from before the time of Raphael. They were renowned for their intensity, productivity and duration, and stimulated fresh goals and styles that defined the second wave of Pre-Raphaelite art from the 1860s through the 1890s.
Burne Jones' "The Love Song"
Works by Burne-Jones anchor the exhibition, including his masterpiece The Love Song (1868–77), the Metropolitan Museum’s sole major Pre-Raphaelite painting. An early painted cabinet from 1861 and a late tapestry from 1898, both products of Burne-Jones’s long, fruitful collaboration with Morris are also on display, along with supporting works by artists ranging from Ford Madox Brown to Aubrey Beardsley and Julia Margaret Cameron, revealing the enduring impact of Pre-Raphaelite ideals as they were taken up by others and developed across a range of media.
The exhibition is on view in the Robert Lehman Wing, Gallery 955 on the main floor through October 26.