Julia Margaret Cameron The Sunflower, 1866-1870 Paul Mellon Fund


Until the 3oth of January 2011- National Gallery of Art, Washington

In the first survey of British art photography focusing on the 1850s and 1860s, some 100 photographs and 20 paintings and watercolors chronicle the roles photography and Pre-Raphaelite art played in changing concepts of vision and truth in representation. Photography’s ability to quickly translate the material world into an image challenged painters to find alternate versions of realism. Photographers, in turn, looked to Pre-Raphaelite subject matter and visual strategies in order to legitimize photography’s status as a fine art. As the exhibition will show, Lewis Carroll, Julia Margaret Cameron, Roger Fenton, Henry Peach Robinson, Oscar Gustave Rejlander, and many lesser known photographers had much in common with such painters as John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and John William Inchbold, as all wrestled with the question of how to observe and represent the natural world and the human face and figure. This rich dialogue between photography and painting is examined in the exhibition’s thematic sections on landscape, portraiture, literary and historical narratives, and modern-life subjects.

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