The American Pre-Raphaelites: Radical Realists

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The American Pre-Raphaelites: Radical Realists

14 April, 2019 to 21 July, 2019


National Gallery of Art
Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

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In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Ruskin, the most influential art critic of the Victorian era, more than 90 paintings, watercolors, and drawings created by American artists who were profoundly influenced by Ruskin’s call for a revolutionary change in the practice of art will be on display. The exhibition includes a number of recently discovered works never before exhibited publicly. New research, included in the exhibition catalog, reveals that many of the artists sought reform not only in the practice of art, but also in the broader political arena—most were abolitionists deeply engaged in the fight against slavery. Coded references to the Civil War are present in a number of exquisitely detailed landscape paintings that do not appear—at first glance—to carry symbolic meaning.