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Rossetti, Leighton, Millet, Hunt: "Victorian treasures" again in Liverpool

More than 60 outstanding Victorian paintings and watercolors will exhibit in their halls the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. “Victorian Treasures” is the work of the leading classical artists of the XIX century, such as Frederick Leighton, Lawrence Alma-Tadema and Edward John Pointer, as well as pre-Raphaelites, including John Everett Millet, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Holman Hunt.The exposition “rested” after an extremely successful tour of the cities of Japan in 2015–2016 and is now again ready to appear in its native walls.Summer nightAlbert Joseph Moore1890, 132 × 228.5 cm Above: The painting “Summer night” by Albert Joseph Moore is one of the masterpieces of English aestheticism. Perhaps the artist was inspired by the famous Roman Portland vase, which depicts people in various poses and for different occupations. Moore could see her in the British Museum when he entered the Royal Academy School in London in 1858.

The Victorian period is marked by serious changes in people's views on art. The artists focused on the viewer's imagination and began to explore new and complex topics. They were attracted to the basics of human existence and emotional plots inspired by myths and legends. Painters are interested in classification, documentation, as well as free experiments with new ways of depicting the physical world.
Left: Frederick Leighton, Perseus and Andromeda (1891). The myth of Perseus, who was ordered to bring the head of Medusa to the Gorgon, whose gaze turned people to stone, was one of the most popular in the Victorian era.
In the picture, the artist depicted Perseus on a winged horse. He came to the aid of Andromeda, who was chained to the rock as a sacrifice to the god of the seas, Poseidon. Leighton showed a dramatic moment: Perseus’s arrow had just pierced the dragon, spread its wings over Andromeda.

The Decameron John William Waterhouse 1916, 101 × 159 cm. The artists of that time also adapted to the expectations of a growing middle class. New rich merchants and industrialists could afford to become collectors. Commerce in the art world was developing, and painters began to write works that could arouse interest and entice potential buyers.Dreams of the past: Sir Izyumbras crosses the river fordJohn Everett Mille 1857, 125.5 × 171.5 cm

The “face” of the exhibition “Victorian treasures” was the portrait of “Elena of Troyan” (1867) by Anthony Frederick Sandys. In the late 1850s and in the 1860s, he painted biblical, mythological, and literary scenes. The artist was a great friend of Rossetti and often drew inspiration from his works.
“Elena Troyanskaya” refers to the illustration that Sandys did for the magazine “Weekly” in 1866 and entitled “Elena and Cassandra”. She portrays a prophetess who scolds Elena against the background of a burning Troy. The beauty while chewing a strand of hair, like a spoiled child. In the picture, as in the figure, the heroine of the myth is depicted as puffed up, looking frowningly and to the side.
Left: Anthony Frederick Sandys, "Helen of Troy" (1867). Walker Art Gallery

  • William Holman Hunt, The Tuscan Girl (1869). Lady Lever Art Gallery
  • Edward John Poynter, "Psyche in the Temple of Love" (1882). Walker Art Gallery
Of particular interest at the exhibition are the works of two artists - Helen Allingham and Kate Greenway. In the Victorian era, painting (like writing) was not considered a female profession, and many ladies had to hide under male pseudonyms. However, both Allingham and Greenway succeeded, primarily as book designers. One became the first woman to become full member of the British Royal Watercolor Society in 1890. The second was in the New Society of Watercolorists, and since 1955, the best illustrators of children's books in Britain have been awarded the medal of her name every year.Old cottage, Pinner Helen Allingem 1890-e, 28.6 × 38.5 cm Landscape Genre development from antiquity to the present day: how did religion and the invention of oil painting techniques contribute to the formation of the genre in Europe and why is the Hudson River so important? Read more "Old cottage, Pinner" Helen Allingham wrote in the 1890s, when she was forced to support children alone after the death of her husband. At the end of the 19th century, Britain experienced depression caused by the modernization of farming methods. Victorians felt nostalgia for idyllic rural life, which was threatened with oblivion. "Cottage" scenes Allingham became a kind of way to preserve this pastoral. The artist paid special attention to architectural styles and traditional construction.

The Two Misss Illustration (1879) Kate Greenway also evoked a feeling of nostalgia among the British. The drawing depicts two carefully dressed girls gathered at the exit on a winter day.
To the viewer of the second half of the XIX century, their style of clothing should seem old-fashioned: long coats with fur trim and hats were worn at the beginning of the century. However, the Victorians felt that their lives were changing rapidly, and enjoyed the memories of the recent past.
Left: Kate Greenway, Two Miss (1879). Walker Art Gallery

The exhibition “Victorian Treasures” at the Walker Art Gallery will open on January 27 and will run until May 7 According to the official website of the National Museums of Liverpool