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British Pre-Raphaelites in Italy: Making an Exhibition in 2024

Wednesday 10 April 2024, 5.00PM

Speaker(s): Professor Liz Prettejohn, Head of Department, History of Art, University of York

This research seminar will explore the challenges, both intellectual and practical, of making a large exhibition of British art for an Italian museum organisation in the period post-Brexit and post-Covid.

The exhibition, hosted by the Museo Civico di San Domenico in Forlì, Emilia Romagna, explores the profound impact of the Italian Renaissance on artmaking (in all media) in Great Britain from the 1840s through the 1920s. During this period, British art rose dramatically to prominence in the rapidly expanding international art world, a development that (as the exhibition demonstrates) was enabled by the study of the art of the past, and particularly of the Italian Renaissance.

The exhibition tells the story of how the art of the Italian Renaissance inspired British artists and designers to innovative artistic creation. In the process, the artists generated new perspectives and new insights into the historical Italian art that inspired them – insights that, as seen at the end of the exhibition, could galvanise Italian artists of the next generation in their turn. By 1882, when the poet and tastemaker Oscar Wilde made his famous lecture tour to North America, he was confident that the British visual arts had reached a level of excellence that itself deserved the name ‘Renaissance’. As he told his audiences: ‘I call it our English Renaissance because it is indeed a sort of new birth of the spirit of man, like the great Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth century’.

To register your interest for this event please fill out the registration form.

Pre-Raphaelites poster (PDF , 10,841kb)

Location: BS/104 Berrick Saul Building