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Romantic Art in England

THE EXHIBITION, ROMANTIC ART in Britain, 1760–1860, that was shown in Detroit and Philadelphia was a very interesting show. Some of the names in it are big (e.g., the Pre-Raphaelites: Rossetti, Millais and Holman Hunt), but their reputations are really survivals from a century ago, and in recent decades their work has not been much appreciated in this country. In the case of others, such as Romney, the artist is well-known, but not by the kind of work that represents him here. The result is that even the big names seem unfamiliar, and since the great bulk of the show consists of work by artists who are hardly known at all, an over all context is created that is very largely new, and in which even the best-known figures, such as Constable and Turner, fit so well as to seem as fresh as the unknowns.

Nevertheless, it is in regard to this “context” that I might incline to criticize the show.

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