Sunday, March 18, 2012
Tolstoy and The Pre-Raphaelites
I know I already mentioned this in class but I would like to show a few images of Pre-Raphaelite paintings that especially reminded me of Anna Karenina. The Pre-Raphaelites started in 1848 in England and are mentioned in the novel several times, even scoffed at. The group started with archaic subject matters and then moved on to landscapes and realist images of social happenings. Many of the scenes in Anna Karenina center around unhappy women, tragic love and displays of wealth—all topics that this art movement portrayed in their context of Victorian England. In the 1860s, Daniel Gabriel Rossetti, one of the founding members, focused on Elizabeth Siddall, a model friend, and much of his work focused on women. Much of his work portrays Siddall as a helpless, passive and sad woman and reminds me of Anna's relationship with Vronsky.
The similarities between Pre-Raphaelitism and Tolstoy seemed so related that I searched online and actually found some helpful pages. John Ruskin, an English art critic and painter himself who worked with and influenced the original three member Pre-Raphaelite group, was a figure that influenced Tolstoy as well. The author thought of Ruskin as a hugely significant figure and even followed his work and writings on modern technology and developments—a big theme of the Pre-Raphaelites. So they are connected!