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Victorian Radicals

The Vero Beach Museum of Art is currently presenting Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement, an exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts and Birmingham Museums Trust, on view February 9 – May 5, 2019.

In the second half of the nineteenth-century, three generations of artists and designers revolutionized the visual arts in Britain by engaging with and challenging the new industrial world around them. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the champions of the Arts & Crafts Movement offered a radical artistic and social vision that found inspiration in the pre-industrial past and came to deeply influence visual culture in Britain and beyond. Drawn from the outstanding collection of the city of Birmingham, United Kingdom, Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement will brings together an extensive array of works—many of which have never been exhibited outside the UK—to illuminate this dynamic period of British art.

Victorian Radicals explores the ideas that preoccupied artists and critics at the time—the relationship between art and nature, questions of class and gender identity, the value of the handmade versus machine production, and the search for beauty in an age of industry—issues that remain relevant and actively debated today. The Vero Beach Museum of Art is pleased to be the only museum in the Southeastern United States to present this traveling exhibition of exceptional historical and visual richness.

Featuring 140 works by pioneering artists including Ford Madox Brown, Edward Burne-Jones, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Elizabeth Siddall, Victorian Radicals represents the spectrum of avant-garde practices of the Victorian era, emphasizing the response of Britain’s first modern art movement to the unfettered industrialization of the period. These artists’ attention to detail, use of vibrant colors, and engagement with both literary themes and contemporary life are illustrated through a selection of paintings, drawings, and watercolors presented alongside outstanding examples of decorative art.

The exhibition occupies all five galleries of the museum and is accompanied by a new catalogue of the same title published by the American Federation of Arts and DelMonico Books•Prestel. This generously illustrated and exciting new study of the Victorian era features rarely seen works, provocative essays, and a striking, period-inspired design. The catalogue is available for purchase in the Museum Store.

The Vero Beach Museum of Art is located at 3001 Riverside Park Drive, in Riverside Park, Vero Beach. From I-95 (Exit 147) or U.S. 1, take State Road 60 east towards the beach, cross over the Merrill Barber bridge and turn right at the first traffic light into Riverside Park. For further information visit the Museum’s web site at or call (772) 231-0707.

Museum programs are sponsored, in part, by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Vero Beach Museum of Art is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

(Top Photo)

Kate Elizabeth Bunce, Musica, ca. 1895–97 Oil on canvas in original frame 40 3/16 x 30 3/16 x 1 3/4 in. Presented by Sir John Holder, Bart., 1897 © Birmingham Museums Trust Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

(Middle Photo)

Designed by William Frend De Morgan, manufactured by Merton Abbey Pottery, Peacock Vase, ca. 1885 Earthenware, thrown and painted in colors over white slip 13 9/16 x 4 1/2 in. Presented by Miss Bridget D’Oyly Carte, © Birmingham Museums Trust Courtesy American Federation of Arts

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