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London art exhibit brings Pre-Raphaelites together

A secretive club of artists who formed to protest against the low standards of British art in the 19th century and later influenced the Impressionists are celebrated for the first time as a group in an exhibition that opened Wednesday at the Tate Gallery here.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in 1848 by three rebellious painters - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt - with the object of overthrowing the dull artistic establishment of the time. They went on to become the most popular British artists of their age, and their influence extended into fashion, literature, and even politics.

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The group, which eventually swelled to seven, wanted to bring a new seriousness and moral depth to British painting. They believed strongly that painting should reproduce nature and life as closely as possible, and they were prepared to go to extremes to achieve this.

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