Pre Raphaelites in London

I have no photographs to share from today’s Pre Raphaelite adventures, because once again the paintings we saw were concealed under thick glass, preventing me from getting decent pictures and making close examination difficult.

This time we were at the Tate Britain in London on what seems to be becoming a fairly regular pilgrimage for me, visiting two of my favorite paintings: Ophelia by Millais and Waterhouse’s Lady of Shalott, both magnificent.

Presently the Waterhouse is hung very poorly for a painting that is so popular, too high on the wall to see, and because it’s been glazed it’s impossible to look at it in any detail.

I’m searching for evidence of wet-white technique, and perhaps found some here: Although the face of Ophelia appears to have been painted en grisaille, there are areas of the creek water that may have have a blue glaze over a wet white layer. I suspect that he painted the flesh using a Raw Umber blended into the white to find the shadows, then adding glazes of skin tones to bring it to life, finally adding the deeper shadows in a last layer.

Ophelia is painted on a smooth ground; a gessoed canvas that reveals no texture.

About pearce

Michael Pearce is an artist, writer, and professor of art. He is the author of "Art in the Age of Emergence."
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