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He steadily progressed; but he was ever true, beautiful and pure, and freer than any other master from superficiality and mannerism. He produced a vast number of pictures, elevating to men of every race and of every age, and before whose immortal beauty artists of every school unite in common homage. Just what the word really meant, William Morris was not sure, yet he once expressed the hope that he would some day know, as a thousand industrious writers were laboring to make the matter plain. Seven men helped William Morris to launch the phrase, by forming themselves into an organization which they were pleased to call the Preraphaelite Brotherhood. The word brotherhood has a lure and a promise for every lonely and tired son of earth. And Burne Jones pleaded for the prefix because it was like holy writ: it gave everybody an opportunity to read anything into it that he desired. Of this I am very sure, in the Preraphaelite Brotherhood there was no lack of appreciation for Raphael. In fact, there is proof positive that Burne Jones and Madox Brown studied him with profit, and loved him so wisely and well that they laid impression paper on his poses. This would have been good and sufficient reason for hating the man; and possibly this accounts for their luminous flashes of silence concerning him. The Preraphaelite Brotherhood, like all other liberal organizations, was quite inclined to be illiberal. And the prejudice of this clanship, avowedly founded without prejudice, lay in the assumption that life and art suffered a degeneration from the rise of Raphael. In art, as in literature, there is overmuch tilting with names so the Preraphaelites enlisted under the banner of Botticelli. Raphael marks an epoch. He did what no man before him had ever done, and by the sublimity of his genius placed the world forever under obligations to him. In fact, the art of the Preraphaelites was built on Raphael, with an attempt to revive the atmosphere and environment that belonged to another. Raphael mirrored the soul of things he used the human form and the whole natural world as symbols of spirit. And this is exactly what Burne Jones did, and the rest of the Brotherhood tried to do. The thought of Raphael and of Burne Jones often seems identical; in temperament, disposition and aspiration they were one.

May 7
Public Domain

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