Canada discovers an Italian talent

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

Do not be put off by the cover, which shows two Victorians of different gender having a pre-Raphaelite snog. What they look like post-Raphael is left to the imagination, as is any thematic connection between Gilbert Baldry’s The Kiss and a set of Schumann pieces that evoke male friendships. Not long ago, when record companies employed picture researchers, their covers bore some relevance to the music inside. These days, the images seem to be picked by a computer linked to the Amazon sales chart.

Do not be put off either by the coupling of Schumann with a record newbie whose name you may not recognise…

Read on here.

And here.

And here.

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  • I’m not particularly knowledgeable about the Pre-Raphaelites, but that painting doesn’t look particularly Pre-Raphaelite to me. Baldry (1876–1928) seems a little late, anyway: the PRB was established in 1848, and then Collinson died in 1881, Rossetti 1882, Millais 1896, and Holman Hunt 1910. This has a more Edwardian look. The painting doesn’t show the heightened realism and vivid colours that I would associate with the Pre-Raphaelite influence. The delineation of the hair, the features (which are obscured anyway by the pose, which does not seem typical of the PRB), and the folds of the clothing seems to be altogether too soft. Nor does the stark black background seem typical of their style, which I would expect to locate the couple against a detailed, realistic background. Indeed, the subject itself does not look like a typical Pre-Raphaelite subject. I would expect a Pre-Raphaelite depiction of a couple kissing to be put into a historical, literary, or religious context, or to be abstracted in the manner of a medieval illumination. This could be a scene from a society drawing room, a sentimental evocation of what could be an everyday event from contemporary life. I had never heard of Baldry before, and I am not surprised, as the painting looks rather poor. I suppose he might have been a remarkably poor imitator of John Singer Sargent, but it really looks more like something I would expect to see on a biscuit tin.

    • I did my graduate work in the Pre-Raphs, and think your analysis is sound in every respect. That picture rang no bells, and I wondered which dodgy minor practitioner had tried to hook on to the fame of the Brotherhood. But Pre-Raph it is certainly not.

      • Interesting. My guess is that it was assumed to be Pre-Raphaelite simply because it’s the correct time period (to within half a century) and the woman has red hair.

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