Lorenzo and Isabella, 1849 by Millais (1829-1896)- Isabella, John Everett Millais

The 19th century brought with it the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which is often described as the first modern art movement. This was due to the fact that they sought to rebel against the mechanic, step by step way art was taught in academies. Artists such as Raphael and Michelangelo were held up as perfect examples of what art should be, and pupils were taught to mimic their technique and composition styles. As a result, the Brotherhood formed and decided to look back before these artists (hence the name Pre-Raphaelite) to allow them to move forward. The Pre-Raphaelites returned to bright colour and detail, and painted from writers such as Keats, Tennyson and Shakespeare.

The agenda of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood consisted of four main points, drawn up by Dante Rosetti in 1895:

“1. To have genuine ideas to express;

2. To study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them;

3. To sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learnt by rote; and

4. Most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.”