Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Pre-Raphaelite Preview

A swift alert to one appealing aspect of the new Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Tate Britain - the inclusion of several sculpted works by Alex Munro, an unjustly neglected member of the original circle.   An especial addition to the canon is a lovely marble relief portrait from 1859 of Elizabeth Smith, wife of Charlotte Bronte's publisher.  Delicately carved, the head, shoulder and hand emerge from a concave oval at a slight angle, as if the sitter were leaning towards the spectator.  The work has been in the Scottish National Gallery for just five years and deserves to be well known.  Check out also Munro's bust of Dante, its simplified dignity a telling contrast to the fussy gothickry of John Hancock's bronze figurine of Beatrice.

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