The Pre-Raphaelite Art of Edward Burne Jones Essay

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Like his fellow Pre-Raphaelite artists, Edward Burne-Jones' paintings often included an array of mythological subjects, from ancient Greece to the bible. Burne-Jones was extremely interested in mythology from a young age, creating a dream world for himself to compensate for his harsh upbringing at the hands of the strict housekeeper. This fascination with myths, particularly the Arthurian legend, continued for his whole life and Burne-Jones' art was reaction against the `moral ugliness' of the industrial world he grew up in, where realism had taken over in art. Julia Cartwright wrote in `The Art Annual' of 1894 that `the art of Burne-Jones from first to last has been a silent and unconscious protest against the most striking tendencies …show more content…
Burne-Jones has highlighted line, particularly on the figure, which makes the painting almost flat and stationary, giving the painting a still, calm look. Despite the expression in the angel's face, he almost looks as if he is suspended, motionless in space.

It is painted with limited a palette, using soft, colours which almost illuminate the entire scene and give the impression that the heavens are shining down upon the contemplative scene. The soft colours are easy to the eye, not brash or harsh, emphasising the innocence of Mary and the holy aspects of the scene.

The elaborate robes and wing of the angel, and the carvings above the archway are extremely and detailed. Most of Burne-Jones work is full of intricate and decorative features which give richness to the paintings to show the richness and opulence of the story that the paintings aim to convey. Botticelli and Michelangelo worked in very fine detail, which was a great influence to the Pre-Raphaelites. Burne-Jones, as much as he puts detail on to the clothing and stonework, leaves the faces of the angel and Mary flawless, not adding too much detail, which gives them unblemished and perfect complexions. He has waved the possibility of even the slightest blemishes to idealise their beauty.

Burne-Jones painting of his wife, Georgiana is less idealised than that of Mary in `The Annunciation'. Her eyes are still wide, like
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