Art Gallery: Pre-Raphaelite Exhibition

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Hyde Park and the Domain. We went to The Poetry of Drawing: Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the NSW Art Gallery, which actually finishes today, 4 September 2011. I’d been busy over the past weekends and hadn’t had a chance to go until now. The gallery is brimming with visitors – tourists, locals like myself and frequenters.

Knowing nothing about this era in art, it was a surprising and educating experience. Basically, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of British artists in 1848, who rejected the classical and generalistic style of the Mannerist artists. You can read more generally about them here:

Unfortunately, no photography was allowed in the exhibition, so I could only take a photo of the entrance.

What surprised me the most about this exhibition was the fact that the Pre-Raphaelites drew a lot of inspiration for their drawings from literature. I saw drawings of Shakespeare’s Ophelia drowning, King Lear and Cordelia, Euripides’ Medea, Chaucer’s rioters and Death etc. In a sense, seeing these artworks of literary figures/characters gave a new dimension to those original texts (unlike watching film adaptions).

Furthermore, it raised a very good point – are these drawings (now exhibited and highly valued) not unlike modern day “fanart”?

Both those drawings and current fanart both draw inspiration and imagination from literary/film texts. Is it possible that in the future, the huge number of fanart drawings of Harry Potter characters will be similarly exhibited?

Who knows!

For English Extension 1 students studying Romanticism, I would also suggest having a look at some Pre-Raphaelite artworks as possible related texts. The artworks demonstrate Romanticism-influenced themes of individualism and a wonderment at nature.

Aside from that exhibition, I also went downstairs to explore the contemporary exhibitions, including the above installation in the Project Space. Towering over you are huge furry, fabric columns resembling cacti. You can’t help but be overwhelmed by it!

Another interesting piece that I saw in the contemporary exhibition. As you can see, I’m not very good with photography…

All in all, a good Saturday morning spent. Enjoy the rest of this sunny weekend.

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