Salt Dragon
The First Pre-Raphaelite Painting


I know what you’re thinking, “WTF? I hate the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood!  If I could eliminate one art historical movement, it’d be them!”  While I can commiserate with those sentiments, I have to admit that John Everett Millais’ Isabella (or The Pot of Basil) has grown on me (pun intended).  Ok, the PRB is not so bad but like Bouguereau, I always get flack for featuring it.  Today, I’ll break down the painting figure group by figure group plus, to entice you, I’ll end with a Tights Are NOT Pants rant.

John Everett Millais, Isabella (or The Pot of Basil), 1849, oil on canvas.  Walker Art Gallery, LiverpoolJohn Everett Millais, Isabella (or The Pot of Basil), 1849, oil on canvas.  Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

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Do people really hate the Pre-Raphaelites? I mean, the stuff they produced struck me as strange when I first encountered it, and I still think it’s what whelped all the ridiculous fantasy novel covers that get made today, but having grown more familiar with it I’ve really come to admire it. Out of its wackier elements (i.e. the Rosetti kinda stuff) we got Arts and Crafts, Symbolism, the Glasgow School, and Art Nouveau in its various forms. It’s bizarre and wonderful. Frankly, Bougoureau can go to hell, though.