Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Brookes lecturer reviews Tate pre-Raphaelite exhibition on Front Row

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Dr Dinah Roe, Rossetti biographer and Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth Century Literature at Brookes, featured on the BBC's arts magazine programme Front Row on Monday 10 Sept to review a new exhibition at the Tate Britain.
Entitled 'Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde', the show has brought together the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in a major exhibition for the first time in 30 years with the aim of displaying the breadth, influence and radical intentions of the group. It includes major works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt.
Dinah Roe comments: "This is the first significant Pre-Raphaelite exhibition since 1984’s Tate show, which caused major controversy at the time. Feminists decried Pre-Raphaelitism’s objectified images of women; the New Statesman reviewed it as ‘Mrs.Thatcher’s Neo-Victorian Age’; the Sunday Telegraph was disgusted by its ‘druggy’ muses. Since then, the Pre-Raphaelite art has been simultaneously dismissed as middle-brow, chocolate-box painting and attacked as decadent and dangerously self-indulgent. The Tate exhibition is trying to forestall these criticisms by repositioning the Pre-Raphaelites as artistic radicals and revolutionaries, and my review assesses how far they are successful."