Date 1874-04-18
Publication Academy
Topic WMR notice of 2 Regnault oil paintings
AP display
RA display
Subject art
Keywords social &aesthetic standards
Standards rank
  ↳ execution
  ↳ design
  ↳ PRB
Notes Ref. Memoir 2.

Annotation details

74 April 18 Academy

Topic: Regnault and French painting.


Rossetti, William M. "Henri Regnault." Academy 2 (April 18, 1874): 102. Web. 21 Sept. 2011.


This brief notice published under the category "Correspondence" is nonetheless a very full artistic and social critique. Rossetti describes quantitative and qualitative details of two Regnault paintings, as well as comparing them favorably to the highest standards of oil painting. Rossetti closes with praise for the liberality of French provincial museums and criticism of the British lack of such museums and, also, the British social strictures that suppress liberality and more valid, strictly aesthetic standards.

Rossetti opens with "being in Marseilles, I went to the museum on April 9, and was much interested to find there an important work by the noble-hearted young French painter, Henri Regnault." In his second memoir, Rossetti confirms that this trip was part of his honeymoon in France (Reminiscences 2:357).

Rossetti discusses Regnault, French painting and the use of color and dramatic presentation, qualities that Rossetti states the Pre-Raphaelite movement sought also to capture. Rossetti believed that the French school stood at the "head of the pictorial art of the nineteenth century" (344). He states that at one point, he had heard that the French in general and Courbet in particular were "doing in France the same sort of work that the Preraphaelites had set going in England" (344). Although after viewing Courbet's work in person Rossetti concluded that the French were in fact on a different track, he stated that the PRB should "import into their work some of the directness of view and powerful handling" exhibited by the French school.

Much of the qualitative analysis and quantitative description of Regnault's work that Rossetti discusses in this brief correspondence in Academy seems to identify these strengths of the French school in the paintings Rossetti considers.


critical and social analysis; critique of British social and aesthetic norms


critique, analysis, social and aesthetic commentary

Standards of Judgment:

aesthetics versus social convention; liberality, national appreciation of art


Holofernes, Judith, Courbet, Museum at Marseilles, Commune



Writing technique/tone:

concise, incisive, informative, call to action


"remarkable balance . . ;" "Provincial museums on this large scale appear to be excellent means, too little attended to in England, of promoting the interests of art: I mean museums, for which the works of living artists are purchased with judgment and liberality-for no other course of action will stand in stead of that."

Works Cited

Rossetti, William Michael. Some Reminiscences of William Michael Rossetti.. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner, 1906. Print.