Dudley Gallery, part 1
|Topic||Dudley Gallery, part 1|
|Standards||PRB aesthetic standards|
74 February 7 Academy
The Dudley Gallery.
Rossetti, William M. "The Dudley Gallery." Academy (February 7, 1874): 155. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.
Rossetti finds the Dudley Gallery exhibition lacking in "poetic subject matter" and moreover, poetic style, two conditions he posits as the benchmark of successful painting. Some of the work in the exhibition he finds to be "absolutely stupid" and "incompetent" and overall, he judges the exhibition to be "below average." This is a recurring theme in Rossetti's criticism: absent the fundamentals of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement, individual works and collective exhibitions are of low quality and questionable value. Rossetti points out another recurring theme-gallery hanging problems-near the end of the essay.
Rossetti's major complaint is that painters in the exhibition seem cognizant only of the required elements of aesthetic expression but are nonetheless incompetent to execute them on more than a rudimentary and thus inauthentic level:
"We cannot accept it as genuine subject or spontaneous treatment; it is the product of a mind which supposes something about passion, poetry, and castigation, and mixes these extraneous elements as best it can into a too insipid kind of curds-and-whey."
It is as if the exhibiting artists are attempting "a sufficiently unnatural hybrid between Mr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti or Mr. Sir Edward Burne-Jones and Overbeck or Fra Angelico."
The specific criticism is more caustic than what is normally the standard in a Rossetti review. For example, speaking of the way colors are applied to a work by Crane, Rossetti says, "a London almond-tree that has lived for ten or twelve days exposed to smoke and grime would compare with it to advantage."
The majority of the review is a work by work, largely negative critique of much of the Dudley Gallery, although Rossetti saves strong praise near the end for a painting by E.R. Hughes.
He credits only one painter, Miss Philpot, with treating a poetic subject sufficiently (Keats's "Endymion") and commendably.
There is mention of a problem in the hanging of a work by George McCullough, which Rossetti says is placed so high that a viewer can hardly take in the painting properly.
Landscapes are to be reserved for a separate notice.
Standards of Judgment:
"a scarified monotony of tint rules over all," "We cannot accept it as genuine subject or spontaneous treatment; it is the product of a mind which supposes something about passion, poetry, and castigation, and mixes these extraneous elements as best it can into a too insipid kind of curds-and-whey;" "a London almond-tree that has lived for ten or twelve days exposed to smoke and grime would compare with it to advantage."