They wanted a return to the compositional richness of Quattrocento Italian art. They valued ideas, attention to nature, heartfelt emotion, and technical refinement. And so they banded together and formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, artists and critics that shared both an aesthetic and a penchant for subjects biblical, Arthurian, and mythological (Tolkien took note). Although the Brotherhood broke up within five years, the names still come to us in a clump: John Everett Millais, brothers William Michael and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt; also Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, and William Morris. By the 1880s, in Britain, the Arts and Crafts Movement—which sought reform in the quality and integrity of design, and was much inspired by Morris and John Ruskin—was emerging as an international influence. “Victorian Radicals” illuminates this pioneering period with 145 works, many of which have never been exhibited outside the U.K. —L.J.
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