Noted for its vivid colors, elaborate use of symbols, and dedication to close observation of the natural world, the work of Pre-Raphaelite artists combines a deep engagement with the past and a modern realism that exemplifies the concerns of the age of steam travel. In Reading the Pre-Raphaelites, author Tim Barringer draws on an imaginative selection of paintings, drawings, and photographs to suggest that the dynamic energy of Pre-Raphaelitism arose out of the paradoxes at its heart. Past and present, historicism and modernity, symbolism and realism, as well as the tensions between city and country, men and women, worker and capitalist, colonizer and colonized all make appearances within Pre-Raphaelite art. By focusing on these issues, Barringer draws together the strands of revisionist thought on the Pre-Raphaelites and provides a range of stimulating new interpretations of their work.
Beautifully illustrated, the revised edition of this authoritative survey traces the history of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and includes new sections on photography as well as a revised introduction and bibliography.