Pre-Raphaelite and Fading away by Henry Peach Robinson

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of poets, painters and critics founded in 1848. This artistic movement was created in United Kingdom and his members had a moral goal through their work. Thus they wanted to influence the morals of their society particularly in the XIXth century with the industrial revolution. The characteristics of the Pre-Raphaelite works is the realism with many details and for paintings the bright colours. The Pre-Raphaelites are inspired by the Italian work of the XVth century and their favourite subjects are the Middle Age, the biblical themes, the nature, literature and poetry.

Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901) was an English photographer. He used combination printing (a kind of photomontage) and his work is pictorialist. He debated about the legitimacy of art photography and was a member of the Royal Photographic Society. Robinson had a strong relation with the painting: many times he employed painted background in front of which he placed his models. « Fading Away » is one of his most popular picture, created in 1858 during his Pre-Raphaelite phase. This work was linked to an other work « She never told her love » which hint at Shakespeare; and because it’s represented the same young died woman, we can supposed that she dying of tuberculosis or of a broken heart. The technique used for « fading away » by Robinson  is the combination of five negatives. The image is built and represented the reality of death. The composition is simple but it permitted to mark better the spectator. This work is a family tragedy, we are into the intimate of this family and we are focused on the died body so it has a morbid aspect too. It’s why when Robinson published this photography, he scandalized the press.

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