Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photography Exhibition: The National Gallery of Art - The Pre-Raphaelite Lens

Julia Margaret Cameron, The Sunflower, 1866-1870The National Gallery of Art has an extensive collection of photographic images, however, most are not regularly on display. This exhibition, The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848–1875, will take 100 photographs and 20 paintings and watercolors from its permanent collection and that of the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. It will be treat to see them.

This exhibition will run from October 31st through January 30, 2011
In the first survey of British art photography focusing on the 1850s and 1860s, some 100 photographs and 20 paintings and watercolors chronicle the roles photography and Pre-Raphaelite art played in changing concepts of vision and truth in representation. Photography's ability to quickly translate the material world into an image challenged painters to find alternate versions of realism. Photographers, in turn, looked to Pre-Raphaelite subject matter and visual strategies in order to legitimize photography's status as a fine art. As the exhibition will show, Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Henry Peach Robinson, Oscar Gustave Rejlander, and many lesser known photographers had much in common with such painters as John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John William Inchbold, as all wrestled with the question of how to observe and represent the natural world and the human face and figure. This rich dialogue between photography and painting is examined in the exhibition's thematic sections on landscape, portraiture, literary and historical narratives, and modern-life subjects.
I don’t know anyone serious about photography, as a craft or fine art, who isn’t a student of its history. There is much we can learn from the dialogue between photography and painting as portrayed in this exhibition.

I think this is a “not to miss” exhibition. I know I’ll be visiting the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC prior to the end of the year to visit this exhibition.

As I travel, I love seeing the work of other photographers as I hope you do. If you know of a new photographic exhibition which you think the Blog should publicize, please contact me.

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