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Berwick St James Parish

Beauty Love & Desire-The Pre-Raphaelites

Beauty, Love and Desire – The Pre-Raphaelites to Modernity Beauty, Love and Desire – The Pre-Raphaelites to Modernity

The beauty and sexual attraction of the human body, has been a source of fascination for artists throughout the history of European Art. Tonight we will discuss how 19th and early 20th century painters interpreted female beauty, love and desire, within English and European society, where women were often placed on a pedestal, their love unattainable and yet where they did not enjoy equality, or contemporary sexual freedom. In the paintings of the French masters, Ingres and Courbet, were depicted contrasting, principally narrative free interpretations of the nude female form. On the other hand, the Pre-Raphaelites and related Academic painters, operating within the conventions of Victorian Society, drew their inspiration from the literary love stories of mythology and Arthurian legend, complete with romance and intrigue. At the turn of the century, painters such as Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Vallotton, Klimpt and Egon Schiele moved on to explore more openly the complexity of sexual relationships.