Of the original members of the Brotherhood, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the son of an Italian refugee and spoke fluent Italian, but never visited Italy. Nevertheless, he found one of his principal sources of inspiration in the writings of Dante Alighieri, and made a magnificent series of watercolours and oils illustrating key episodes in the Divine Comedy. Later, Burne-Jones and other artists made illustrations of Italian writers. Other members of the Brotherhood, notably William Holman Hunt, followed explicitly John Ruskin’s injunction to study nature closely. Ruskin’s influence was felt by a group of artists who represented not only the Italian landscape, but also architecture and paintings, with extraordinary fidelity. The exhibition will include cartoons and preparatory drawings for this project, which have never been exhibited before in England.
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