Art Gay Daly Pre-Raphaelites in Love

ISBN 13: 9781582880273

Pre-Raphaelites in Love

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9781582880273: Pre-Raphaelites in Love

In 1848 a group of brilliant young artists banded together and dubbed themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Believing that painting had declined since the time of Raphael, they decreed that every rose must be painted from a live flower and every face from a human being. Inevitably, their creative passions became tangled with romantic ones, as the artists--William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and later, Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris--became involved with their models in tempestuous, sometimes tragic, relationships.

Anyone who has seen the work of the Pre-Raphaelites has been struck by the dreamy, luminous women portrayed in the paintings. But who were these women? And what happened when these beautiful girls who consented to model--scandalous behavior at the time--found themselves idealized and adored by the men who painted them? In this ambitious and immensely readable book, author Gay Daly introduces us to these intriguing women:

Elizabeth Siddal, the shopgirl so memorably painted as Ophelia and Beatrice, who finally married Rossetti after ten years of nerve-wracking courtship, and died at 32, a suicide.

Annie Miller, the barmaid taken up as a "project" by the besotted Hunt, who turned the tables on her suitor when he failed to go through with their marriage.

Effie Gray, who ultimately experienced happiness and sexual pleasure with Millais--but only after a six-year marriage to the art critic John Ruskin that was never consummated.

Fannie and Edith Waugh, sisters who both married Hunt, Edith becoming his wife after the death of her older sister, a union that was illegal in England at the time.

Georgiana MacDonald, who never stopped loving her husband, Burne-Jones, even though he pursued romantic adventures outside the marriage for thirty years.

Jane Burden, wife to Morris, who met her match in Rossetti, becoming his muse just as Lizzie Siddal had been before her death.

Pre-Raphaelites in Love draws on a wealth of original letters and diaries to reveal the complicated, stormy, and extraordinarily binding relationships of these artists and the women they loved. The result is a vivid, personal group portrait, a provocative exploration of marriage and the challenges inherent in intimacy, as well as a glimpse of the fragile kinship between romance and inspiration.

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About the Author:

Gay Daly holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Yale and has taught English and women's studies at Memphis State University, St. Lawrence University, and Antioch College. She spent eight years researching and writing Pre-Raphaelites in Love, her first book. During that time she traveled widely to study the paintings and read thousands of letters written by the artists, their wives, and their families, friends, and enemies. Gay Daly lives in Pelham Manor, New York, with her husband, Jay Lovinger, and their daughters, Woo and Wendy.

From Publishers Weekly:

Behind the dreamlike women in Pre-Raphaelite paintings stood the artists' flesh-and-blood models with whom they often became romantically involved. Dante Gabriel Rossetti transformed shopkeeper Elizabeth Siddal into his saintly Beatrice and slept with barmaid Annie Miller. By marrying teenaged Jane Burden, William Morris tried to seize hold of one of the medieval maidens in his paintings; he projected grace, charm, uncanny wisdom onto her shyness, but she felt emotionally trapped and the marriage broke down. Daly, who has taught women's studies, presents an often touching, sometimes hilarious, always engrossing portrait of the high-minded Victorian Brotherhood, their romances and their almost incestuous cross-connections. The men do not come off well: William Holman Hunt's arrogant attempt to remake flirtatious Annie Miller into a well-read lady reminds one of the Pygmalion-Galatea myth. John Ruskin trivialized and condescended to his wife Effie Gray; she later married sexually demanding John Everett Millais, who made her a breeder in an endless round of pregnancies. This is amorous biography at its witty, perceptive best. Illustrated.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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