Art: Victorian Surrealists

In 1848, London first saw the initials P.R.B. in the corners of paintings. The artists who put them there wanted no one to mistake their work for Raphael's. Nobody was likely to.

P.R.B. stood for the "PreRaphaelite Brotherhood." The original Brothers were three Englishmen out of joint with their early Victorian times: William Holman Hunt (21), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (20), John Everett Millais (19). They hoped to recapture the spiritual vigor and simplicity of 14th-and 15th-Century Italian art, and they desired to practice Ruskin's thesis—that esthetic reverence for nature must keep pace with...

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