John Everett Millais’ Ophelia
Tate Britain is currently showcasing one of their most exciting exhibitions; a huge retrospective of Pre-Raphaelites paintings. Three of today’s most glamorous art muses – Daisy Lowe, Laura Bailey and Karen Elson exclusively tell Grazia which their favourite is, and why.
Characterised by beautiful, red-headed women against wildly extravagant and detailed backdrops, the Pre-Raphaelites nineteenth century works are among the best known of all English paintings. Taking inspiration from modern life (often women), literature, politics and even religion, the group aimed to break away from the traditional Raphaelite style – women with sweet faces, blushing cheeks and rosebud mouths so favoured at the time.
‘Rebelling against the traditional Royal Academy was seen as radical and many members disapproved,’ says the exhibition’s curator Alison Smith. ‘The way these painters lived would be considered controversial even now; Rossetti had a number of mistresses, Hunt had a relationship with a working class woman and, later, married the sister of his deceased wife. They were unconventional in many ways but interested in forging new ideas.’
Many agree, including models Daisy, Laura and Karen, who have each selected their key piece for these stunning videos. Check them out. Then check out the exhibition itself.
Daisy Lowe on Ecce Ancilla Domini (The Annunciation) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1849-50
Karen Elson on Ophelia by Millais 1851-52
Laura Bailey on Lady Lilith by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1886-8
Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Garde is on now until 13 January 2013, www.tate.org.uk