Here's another post making an observation about a modern cultural genre that seems to love the Pre-Raphaelites still. I am referring to fantasy art, or specifically, fantasy/sci fi dust jacket art.
I'll be honest and tell you that I judge books by their covers. In my opinion, *for the most part* (there are always exceptions) if a book is excellent enough to catch a publisher's eye, they'll take the time to have an appealing illustration on the cover. And along the same vein, nothing turns me off faster to a book than to have a cover that blatantly rips off a specific Pre-Raphaelite artwork without giving it full credit. I should make it clear that many artists give small nods to Pre-Raphaelite style or influence in their art, and I absolutely love that. And as another caveat, perhaps the artists of these covers do acknowledge the Pre-Raphaelite influence in liner notes somewhere. But here are a couple of examples of the nail-on-a-chalkboard covers:
Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country. Actually a pretty good book. But....
...The Bridesmaid by Millais. If you're going to do an illustration this close to the original, why not just reproduce the original on the cover?
I started out with a mild example, but here's the illustration that really frustrated me when I first saw it.
A Clash of Kings cover illustration. Come on now....change the outfits slightly, and it's a blatant copy of...
The Accolade by Leighton
with touches of....
Miriamne Leaving The Judgement Seat of Herod by Waterhouse (the stairs, gold and white lion, reclining figure on a throne in the background)
Some people may find this kind of homage to be a totally respectful modern interpretation of the Pre-Raphaelites. But frankly, I feel it's unfair to the original artists. It's little better than making an exact copy of the original and passing it off as one's own.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are artists at work today whose art very clearly shows the influence of Pre-Raphaelite techniques and moods, but are completely new compositions. Examples of these are...
Elegy for Darkness: The Lady of Shalott by Giancola
and many artworks by the amazing Kinuko Craft (my personal favorite living artist)
So what do you think? Am I being too harsh on those artists who use specific Pre-Raphaelite art as a launching point for their compositions? Or do you agree?