The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, originally consisting of a secret group of seven young men, was formed in 1848 in London and lasted effectively for about five years. It was an artistic group of young student painters in the Royal Academy Schools and some of their friends, a very small part of the revolutionary spirit then motivating change throughout Europe that pointing the history known as the year of Revolutions. In Britain, where Marx had settled and lived for the remainder of his life, events were less dramatic and did not result in the overthrow of the monarchy or government. Although the young Queen Victoria who came to the throne in 1837 was not yet secured on her throne or as loved and adored by the populace as she later became; never the less there were disturbances arising from the repeal of the Corn Laws and the growth of the strong national public feeling for government reforms led by a group known as the Chartists, the nearest that Britain cane to invert active revolutionaries.
It is important to emphasize that an artistic movement or revolution was this contemplated. The movement that quickly originated from youthful enthusiasm was one of the most significant in the formation of a new philosophy of painting, the desire of the short life of the movement, it did initiate changes that had a profound effect on British painting after the mid-nineteenth century. By the time the pre raphaelites were formed in 1848, there was considerable uncertainty within the art establishment as to the future direction of the painting. Some positive direction was needed, some standards were established. The pre raphaelitie brotherhood with its mysterious cryptogram PRB appearing on its paintingsprovideda different if unspecified direction. It seemed to be concerned with a new form of realism, parts spiritually motivated, part presenting a new sense of actuality. One of the difficulties inherent in any study of the Brotherhood derives, for instance from the fact that what the pre Raphaelities inaugurated was so quickly adopted or assimilated into the generality of later victorian painting that it is not immediately evident to the observer which are pre raohaelite paintings, which are influenced by the movement, and which have absorbed sufficient of the technique and philosophy for different pictorial ends.
It is something of a surprise to encounter in 1848, the formation of the pre raphaelitie. Brotherhood secretly devoted to a revolutionary artistic program that became in the event, the first of the significantly influential art movements of the century. Had pre raphaelitism as an idea, philosophical, and technical artistic inspiration or approach depended entirely on the original group of seven, it would almost certainly not have attained the public recognition, respect, and regard that it currently holds. The brothers were joined by friends and followers and the result was a large and wide-ranging body of work created during the middle and later years of 19 th C.
The most important members of the brotherhood we’re John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel, Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, James Collins(who resigned in 1850), Thomas Woolner, F.G Stephens, and William Michael Rossetti.
The brotherhood lasted for five years at most and was clearly a youthful development. It was enthusiastic,energetic,iconoclastic,irresponsible aggressive self-assured and hard working.