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An article about Pre-Raphaelites.   Original English text from The Telegraph with Japanese translation. You can find the whole text here.

ラファエル前派に関する記事です。きのうからのつづきです。The Telegraphに掲載されている英語の原文と、その試訳です。


Pre-Raphaelites, Tate Britain exhibition: visions that tell us who we are


By Mark Hudson
8:39AM BST 12 Sep 2012

英国時間 2012年9月12日8:39AM


Part of our problem in understanding Pre-Raphaelitism lies in the way it has become conflated in the popular mind with a mass of related phenomena such as Art Nouveau, the Aesthetic Movement, and fin-de-siècle Symbolism – all of which were influenced by Pre-Raphaelitism, to the extent that just about any romantic Victorian painting tends to be thought of as Pre-Raphaelite.



Asked to name a Pre-Raphaelite painting many would opt for John William Waterhouse’s dreamily mournful The Lady of Shalott which was painted much later (in 1888) and has none of the Pre-Raphaelites’ fiercely observed detail.

ファイル:JWW TheLadyOfShallot 1888.jpg

Image: Wikipedia


The best Pre-Raphaelite art has a uniqueness of vision, extraordinary purity and intensity. Millais’s Christ in the House of His Parents – in many ways the quintessential Pre-Raphaelite painting – harks back to the early Renaissance in its shallow perspective and even light, though it doesn’t look much like a 15th-century painting.

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Image: Wikipedia


The fact that this image of a carpenter’s workshop, which radiates simplicity and sincerity, was universally condemned (“plainly revolting… a nameless atrocity”) only helped foster the group’s unity.


Yet this highly crystallised collective vision was short-lived. The Brotherhood dissolved after just five years into divergent tendencies. Hunt and Millais came to represent the realist wing, their work characterised by sharp lines and intense colour. Rossetti, Burne-Jones and William Morris took a more romantic path, retreating into a dreamy, medievalist netherworld populated by auburn-haired femmes fatales – turning out images that were far removed from the original Pre-Raphaelite imperative to “paint what you see”.


If the Pre-Raphaelites were painting in the open air 15 years before the Impressionists, as Rosenfeld points out, a comparison of the approaches of the two schools shows how variously the idea of “painting what you see” can be interpreted.


Whereas the Impressionists’ deadpan, optical view feels to us implicitly modern; with the Pre-Raphaelites there’s always a story. While contemporary audiences found these narratives worryingly oblique, to the modern viewer they are telegraphed with all the blatancy of a Hollywood movie. And whether they’re taking place in biblical times or 19th-century London, the characters in them all look Victorian.


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Title: Wikipedia

“The Pre-Raphaelites have to be seen as part of the full pageant of 19th-century life,” says Rosenfeld. “As storytellers, they’re the equal of Dickens, Walter Scott or Thomas Hardy. They weren’t interested in being alienated artists removed from society. They wanted to make their mark within it. A painting like Hunt’s The Light of the World was seen everywhere in Victorian Britain and throughout the empire. It’s part of the story of the expansion of British society.”


ファイル:William Holman Hunt - The Awakening Conscience - Google Art Project.jpg

Image: Wikipedia

Yet however much you dress it up in historical context, it’s difficult to escape the fact that the conjunction of Hunt’s painting and its companion piece, The Awakening Conscience, prove challenging for today’s viewers.


In The Light of the World the figure of Jesus, bathed in an eerie greenish glow, is seen knocking on a long unopened door, while in The Awakening Conscience, a kept woman – in essence a prostitute – seated on the knee of her lover looks upward, the light of a newly awakened morality in her eyes.


Yet if this unabashed meeting of high moralising and overt religiosity appears far removed from the aesthetic concerns of today, art’s imperatives have shifted in a way that favours a reappraisal of the Pre-Raphaelites.


The preoccupation with form that dominated art in the 20th century has long since given way to an interest in narrative and subjectivity – seen not least in the work of the Young British Artists.


Rather than attempt to be sufficient unto itself in the Modernist spirit, much art today illustrates themes, looking towards other forms – literature, music and film – in a way that makes the Pre-Raphaelites feel peculiarly relevant.


Our attitude towards their art reflects an odd awkwardness towards our own culture – particularly in relation to the visual arts.


Now feels a perfect moment to look again at this most British of art movements, and to immerse ourselves in the world that created them, in all its familiarity and opulent strangeness. Rather than rejecting the Victorian-ness of Pre-Raphaelite art, we should be looking further into it to get a deeper sense of who we are.


Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde is at Tate Britain, London SW1 (020 7887 8888; tate.org.uk) from September 12

「ラファエル前派:ヴィクトリア朝のアヴァンギャルド展」は、London SW1テートブリテンで9月12日から開催中。(020 7887 8888; tate.org.uk)