“The Invisible Princess” and Pre-Raphaelite idealism

In the discussion today on The Pageant’s second volume I found the image “The Invisible Princess” by Laurence Housman super intriguing. We talked about how there could be an influence of Pre-Raphaelite art in the image, which I agree with as demonstrated through the detailed attention to the natural world surrounding the figure depicted. The thin but fine lines of the leaves and flowers indicate the beauty of the outdoor space, and frame the couple with nature. This gives the implication that their love is good or natural, as it fits perfectly within a frame of nature.

This Pre-Raphaelite influence got me thinking about the idealization of the past that comes with it. Pre-Raphaelite art was already borrowing and idealizing elements from fourteenth-fifteenth century paintings for example. What is the effect of continuing to utilize artistic elements situated so far in the past? Is it blind idealization or is it because the implications are still very relevant in 1897 when this piece was published?

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