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Through the Past, Darkly


Inspired by mythology and the natural world, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood created art that gave life to fable; marked by lush colors and fairly writhing with sensual curves and gentle light, these works are the essence of romance. In the case of Julia Margaret Cameron, however, the conventions of the movement are absent. But the effect — a luminous dreamworld just beyond our own — is still very much present. Limited to black-and-white by 1870s technology, Cameron compensated with elaborate lighting schemes and a soft focus; her image Mrs. Herbert Duckworth (pictured) has a hermetic stillness to it. Two of Cameron's photographs are on view in Gallery 321 of the Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park (314-721-0072 or as part of British Works on Paper, 1850-1880, a complementary exhibit to the museum's Pre-Raphaelite show. Admission to British Works is free.
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