Room for Imagination


SCRATCH POST

Beguiling_of_Merlin1874Edward Burne- Jones, Beguiling of Merlin, 1872 -77, Lady Lever Art Gallery.
“La Belle Dame sans merci/Hath thee in thrall!”
Image source: Wikipedia. 

PART THREE OF THE CHARACTER OF LIGHT: JOHN KEATS AND VICTORIAN PAINTERS

When the Pre-Raphaelites, ardently following “the footsteps of Keats”[1] away from mannerism towards revitalized Gothicism, took inspiration from the fresh, saturated colours of his imagery and medieval settings, they chose to overlook his devout Hellenism and appreciation ofRaphael’s “heroic simplicity and unaffected grandeur”. [2]

Their admiration for his technique of conveying intensity of sensory experience was genuine – “the next Keats can only be a painter” observed Dante Gabriel Rossetti in a letter to William Morris – but like many apostles they distorted the vision of their prophet.

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