Victorian Avant Garde: Pre-Raphaelites and Their Influence

The Pre-Raphaelites developed in the mid 19th century as a reaction to the sentimental art of the time and the soulless nature of the Industrial Revolution. The original founders met at the Royal Academy and included the poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, painter and illustrator John Everett Millais, and painter William Holman Hunt. They were championed by art critic John Ruskin for their use of realism depicting serious scenes from poetry, literature and religion. Later followers included architect, artist, furniture and textile designer William Morris and the artist and designer Edward Burne-Jones who both shared Rossetti's fascination for medieval themes. Hunt and Millais were more concerned with realism. Pre-Raphaelite influence continued through the nineteenth century and can be seen in the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic Movements in Britain as well as the work of many European artists such as Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt.