Friday, 20 July 2012

Nice draperies, shame about the females

Pity the poor, Pre-Raphaelite painter, untroubled by fame, who decides to have a bash at an obscure troubadour legend for his next subject. 

Such a fellow was one Mr Winfield (even his first name is lost to oblivion), who exhibited his painting, 'Geoffroi Rudel', at the Liverpool Society of Fine Arts in October 1860. The Liverpool Mercury's art critic, having laid into another work of Winfield's entitled 'Jock O'Hazledean' ('a ridiculous, faulty, unnatural abortion'), was a little kinder to his Rudel daub:
This is a picture of some merit, rich in colouring, and the notorious hardness of the pre-Raphael school is somewhat modified. [...] The drawing is also generally good, and the draperies admirable.

But wait... he's not done.
There is, however, a lackadaisical expression about the females which is unfortunate, and should have been avoided by a clever man. One drawback we must notice [...] all the females are painted from the same model, consequently have the same class of features, just a little modified or changed by the painter. This is very wrong.
Altogether the picture is very promising. If the artist will only avoid the absurd crudities and still more absurd rejection of principles which characterise the pre-Raphaelite section of painters, he may attain a high name in art; but adherence to these will only ruin him, as it has done many a man of fair promise within the last ten years.  

Both artist and painting have vanished into obscurity - not that they really ever left it. But the same, of course, goes for the critic.

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