In the recently refurbished iconic St Pancras Station Hotel, Tate Britatin held a launch event for its forthcominge exhibition “Pre-Raphaelites – a Victorian Avant-Garde”. St Pancras was a fitting venue for the exhibition launch – emphasising the role of the railway in the Industrial revolution, the loss of ‘camelot’ to the urban spread of product hungry suburbs, and new mechanistic technologies which challenged traditional craft skills.
The exhibition, one of series of ‘major’ exhibitions during the “Olympic Year”, (following Hockney, Freud, Hirst….) that promote quintessentialy British artists and art movements, aims to “… juxtapose paintings with works in other media including the applied arts….”.
Although the decorative and the utilitarian outpourings of the ‘Brotherhood’ was intellectually grounded in co-operative socialism the Pre-Rraphaelite movement was also were universally popular. Components which were anathema to mid Victorian “academicians”. In this day and age - where art and design practice have intermixed with each other it will be interesting to see whether the art of this ‘victorian avant garde’ will be viewed by today’s audiences as a (revolutionary) avant garde or as alien products from intergalactic luddites….
Tate Britain – Mill Bank London SW1 4RG, 12 September 2012 – 13 January 2013, 10am – 6pm Sat – Thurs, 10am – 10pm Fri.