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Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate

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by Courtney Symes (subscribe)
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A friend I shared a room with many years ago had a poster on her wall of John Everett Millais' 'Ophelia'. I remember being utterly mesmerised by this piece, with its rich colours and exquisite detail. Every time I looked at it, I saw something I hadn't noticed previously. It was like a captivating story that drew you into its tangled web of intrigue. When it comes to the pre-Raphaelite genre, many people would probably be familiar with the iconic 'Ophelia'. However, this was a powerful movement initiated by a group of rebellious young British artists during the mid-19th century, resulting in a solid collection of works. The Tate has an extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite pieces, 50 of which they are sharing in NGA's forthcoming exhibition, Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate.

William Holman Hunt The awakening conscience, Love and Desire Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from Tate, Pre-Raphaelite exhibition
William Holman Hunt The awakening conscience (detail) 1853. Image courtesy Tate.

The Tate's 50 most famous and popular pre-Raphaelite works will be combined with 40 loans from British and Australian collections to create a spectacular exhibition. Never seen in Australia before, this exhibition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view some of the finest masterpieces from this movement. Visitors to the exhibition can expect works that embody the unique Pre-Raphaelite style that was inspired by great love stories of history and literature, as well as religious icons. Brilliant colour and minute details have been expertly layered into these pieces to create the poetic, romantic (even sexy) and raw images that will captivate the viewer. In addition to 'Ophelia', the exhibition will also include William Holman Hunt's The Awakening conscience 1853 and Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Proserpine 1874, among other greats.

Love and Desire: Pre-Raphaelite Masterpieces from the Tate runs from 14 December 2018 - 28 April 2019.
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Why? This is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition
When: Open every day 10am – 5pm except Christmas Day.
Phone: 02 6240 6411
Where: National Gallery of Australia
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