Britain’s ‘first modern art movement’ in Tate show
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Britain’s ‘first modern art movement’ in Tate show

Tate Gallery frame conservation technician Adrian Moore inspecting The Lady of Shalott at the Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham, central England.

Tate Gallery frame conservation technician Adrian Moore inspecting The Lady of Shalott at the Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham, central England.

The exquisite detail, vivid colours and radical 19th century style of the Pre-Raphaelites light up London’s Tate museum with a new exhibit of Britain’s “first modern art movement”.

The 180 paintings, sculptures and tapestries of Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde comprise the largest exhibition of the movement’s works at the Tate Britain since 1984. It runs from today until January 13.

The show aims to demonstrate that the group led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais were Britain’s first modern art movement, co-curator Jason Rosenfeld said.

“They lead to a very different story of modern art than the one that you’re perhaps accustomed to seeing in modern art museums,” Rosenfeld said.

The collection includes Ophelia by Millais and Lady Lilith by Rossetti, which depicts a red-headed beauty in her dressing room, brushing her hair with delicate roses featured in the background.

Rossetti features heavily in the exhibition, as one of the core members of the art movement, alongside Holman Hunt and Millais. The artists were known as revolutionary at the time, for their use of bright colours and arresting imagery.

“When these things were exhibited in the late 1840s and (at) the Royal Academy, they really stuck out,” Rosenfeld said.

The star of the show, for Rosenfeld, is The Lady of Shallott by Hunt, which is on loan to Britain for the first time in 60 years.

“People will see this picture and be really astounded by its visual splendour and composition. The way that he’s interpreted that crazed hair, the curling balletic pose, the coloration which is so bold and brilliant,” Rosenfeld said.

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