“Love and the Maiden” by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope; tempera, gold paint and gold leaf on canvas; 20 x 34 inches; 1877
Noble knights and elegant ladies. Rich, vibrant colors. The natural beauty of landscapes both familiar and exotic. Artists with eccentric personalities and adventurous lives.
These are some of the characteristic and beloved features of the work of the Pre-Raphaelite artists of Victorian England. Now, a special exhibition at the Vero Beach Museum of Art is featuring some of the jewels of Pre-Raphaelite art, as well as the work of the related Arts and Crafts movement. Paintings, stained glass, silver, textiles and furnishings are among the works included in a collection that encompasses the entire Museum.
Entitled “Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement,” and running through May 5, the exhibit features some 145 works. Every gallery space at VBMA is devoted to it, with the regular collection temporarily moved to storage.
The “Victorian Radicals” exhibit hails from the city of Birmingham — one of England’s most prosperous manufacturing centers in the Victorian Age — and will be presented at only six museums in the United States, including the Frick in Pittsburgh and the Yale Center for British Art.
As VBMA’s director, Brady Roberts, notes, it is a collection that features “a broad range and so many different media — with so many iconic works.”