Beauty’s Awakening:
Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaries from the Lanigan Collection

Dennis T. Lanigan and Christopher Newall
Introduction by Sonia Del Re

National Gallery of Canada
200 pp 200 col. ill. 11.5 x 9 in softcover  
$40.00 Can. $45.00 U.S.
October 2015

beautyewakening.jpgspacer.gifEncompassing the entire Victorian era, this exhibition catalogue charts the broad evolution of British draftsmanship and illustrates the new appreciation developed for the art of drawing from 1837 to 1901. While inviting contemplation of artists operating within the Aesthetic Movement and the Arts and Crafts Movement, the publication highlights the work of Pre-Raphaelite artists, Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, as well as that of Academic champions Edward Poynter and Frederic Leighton. Through its range of subject matter, techniques and functions - from preparatory sketches to highly finished drawings intended as works of art in and of themselves - Beauty’s Awakening expresses the richness, diversity and flair of Victorian draftsmanship as seen through the eyes of a discerning collector. Richly illustrated with dozens of colour plates, the publication invites reflection on the careers of artists who are the geniuses of their time and whose works are an integral part of the renewal of interest in progressive Victorian art.

In his essay Dr. Dennis T. Lanigan tells the story of how his collection was formed, describing his 40 year journey from someone with no particular art education but with “a good eye” into the holder of a collection considered unrivaled among private and public collections in North America. His exhaustive studies of the drawings in his possession and the outcome of his research form the body of the publication. Pre-Raphaelite scholar Christopher Newell details the extraordinary effect the group had on contemporary art and artists and recounts how they transformed drawing into an autonomous art form to be viewed as “the chief signifier of creativity.” Accompanied by 80 individual entries, each illustrated with a full-page colour plate.

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