Eve’s Favorite Painting thread has inspired me to ask for help on an art-appreciation deficit I’ve got: while I think many Pre-Raphaelite paintings look beautiful at first glance, they often end up annoying me. Here’s my issue: the pale, langorous babes often depicted look like they live in some romanticized world where everything is hazy, they are waited on by servants and they never arise from their fainting couches.
As evidence, I present Millais’ Ophelia and The Bequiling of Merlin by Burne-Jones, both of which were chosen as favorite paintings in the other thread. (It is absolutely not my intent to pick on anyone–I’m using these as examples of the best Pre-Raphaelite pictures so I can avoid the charge of selecting only inferior examples of the genre.)
Assume my ignorance (none of the art history classes I took in college covered P-R, I’ve never read a book specifically about it and I can’t think of any important P-R painting I’ve actually seen in person–perhaps a lot of the major artists are concentrated in a couple of museums?), and help me appreciate what’s goin’ on with P-R, beyond the fetching draped gowns and the unreality.