- The Poetic Imagination of Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones [Biography]
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Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Burne-Jones, paragon of the second-generation of Pre-Raphaelite painters, was originally a student at Oxford, studying theology. There he met William Morris who was to become his lifelong friend. While at Oxford, Burne-Jones saw the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Inspired by Rossetti's work, he eventually approached Rossetti and asked his advice. Rossetti not only encouraged him to dedicate himself to his art, but also became his mentor. Much of Burne-Jone's early works show clearly the stamp of Rossetti's influence.

Burne-Jones led the second phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. He wanted to restore art to its purist form, with the high moral tone of the medieval style. His style combined romanticism with medievalism, and his favourite subjects were graceful, wistful girls. The lack of strong emotions or action in his paintings, and his fascination with detail lend an unearthly quality to his paintings.

In addition to his prodigious output on canvas (over 200 oil paintings in his lifetime), Burne-Jones was an illustrator and a designer of stained glass windows (they can be seen in the American Church in Rome, in Christ Church, Oxford, and Birmingham Cathedral). He also designed numerous tapestries and mosaics for William Morris's firm.

Burne-Jones became RA in 1885, without even having put his name forward. He was knighted in 1894. Unlike most English painters of his time, Burne-Jones established a reputation on the continent, and his honours there include Corresponding Member of the Institute of France.

contributed by Gifford, Katya


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