Why, shortly after the French Revolution, do young painters decide to wear Greek togas and later retire to a dilapidated monastery? What makes almost adolescent Prussian artists grow their hair long, wear long robes and try to live like medieval monks? Or that other young creators in England found a so-called “Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood”? And that a group of friends unite as “Sisters in Art”? Why does William Morris want to become a kind of craftsman and ends up being a pioneer of socialism? How do spirituality, friendship, gender, sexual desire and political ideas come together in a collective art project? In what ways can art change the lives of those who practice it, beyond constituting an occupation? Is that the meaning of collectives of creators? “Friends, costumes and communes” aims to answer these questions by studying the first type of modern artistic collectivism, which lays the foundations for the artistic collectives of the 20th and 21st centuries: the so-called brotherhoods of artists, groups whose practice aims to unite the vital and creative project, trying out other ways of understanding affections and identity as something shared.
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