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Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Introduction to the Pre-Raphaelites

Sam, age11, "The Battle Between Good and Evil")


Alex, age 11, "Untitled"
We began our study of Pre-Raphaelite Art by looking at the pieces we are going to study for the next few weeks (see sidebar on the left.) We looked at what linked these pieces together -what about them was similar. They noticed that they all depicted people in situations and that nature was featured in each of them. I gave them a little background about this movement, but just enough to peak further interest; not so much that they felt that they were being given "the answers." I told them that in 1948 British art was dominated by the traditions of the Royal Academy, which looked to the Renaissance for inspiration. Unhappy with what they saw as the Academy's rigid and unchanging traditions, a group of artists came together and called themselves the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood." They admired the artists of the Middle Ages, specifically the artists that came before Raphael. Tired of the subject matter used by the Royal Academy, they favored contemporary Victorian society and the ideals of medieval chivalry from literature for themes. The Industrial Revolution brought with it technical advances and harsh social conditions, both of which were themes in their art.

Their goals were:

1. to have genuine ideas to express
2. to study nature attentively
3. to sympathize with what is direct, heartfelt and serious in previous art
4. to produce thoroughly good pictures
James, age 7 "Romeo and Juliet" balcony scene

Katie, age 16, "Lewis & Clark: When We Were Young"


Click to play Pre-Raphaelite ArtQuentin, age 4, "The two are kissing on a mountain and the rest are sneaking up on them."


I then invited them to think of something either in a story that they had heard (literature) or some idea or story they had thought of (an idea to express) and to show this in a picture using any art media they wished.

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