21 May 2020

The gothic Pre-Raphaelites: The uses of the past and modern science

Pre-Raphaelite artists were fascinated by many of the ideas and controversies that shaped the Victorian age, from geology and botany to anatomy, physiology, and psychology.

The influence of new scientific theories, including evolutionary biology, can be seen in the techniques, naturalistic forms, and themes of their work.

However, although they sometimes combined a fascination with the Middle Ages with an interest in modern science, they also used the medieval past to challenge some of the key aims of evolutionary biology and medicine.

This talk investigates some of the ways in which gothic revivalism offered the Pre-Raphaelites new ways of looking at the human body and of representing humans in the natural and built environment.

This talk complements the Pre-Raphaelites exhibition at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery (16 May – 27 September)

Speaker: Dr Corinna Wagner is Associate Professor of Literatures, Art History and Visual Culture at the University of Exeter

This is a UWE Regional History Centre talk.