On my recent trip to Canberra I managed to squeeze in a visit to the National Gallery of Australia to check out the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, Love & Desire. I took my mum and my two girls to see these magnificent paintings from the 1800s.
When I was in my 20s I was a huge fan of John William Waterhouse. He's the painter most people associate with this period in art even though he wasn't one of the original seven members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. There's even a print of his very famous painting, The Lady of Shallott, at my folks from when I lived there.
It was wonderful to see the paintings in real life. Get up close and see the brushstrokes. Marvel in the incredible detail.
We did the guided tour and it was fascinating to hear stories about the artists as well as those of the people in the paintings. It's the first time I've done a guided tour in a gallery and I'll definitely be doing more. Sue, our guide, was knowledgeable and full of trivia. She was also very respectful and mindful of my daughters (aged 8 and 12) and pitched her talk to accomodate them.
Unlike a lot of artists, the pre-Raphaelites actually made money in their life times. They were canny sales people and sold reproductions of their works. They were able to capitalise on technology and deliver art to the masses, foreshadowing the future.