The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of young artists and writers who first met in 1848. The most prominent members were painters such as Millet, Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Their main aim was to reform English painting by rejecting the established academic style in favour of a revival of (= ritorno a) the simplicity and pure colours of the Pre-Renaissance period (the period before the Italian painter Raphael). Rossetti was also a poet and as a poet he belonged to the tradition of sensuous and highly musical poetry which can trace its origin back to Keats and would later be represented by men like Oscar Wilde and a later generation of poets. These poets insisted on the fact that poetry and art in general must be exclusively concerned with the beautiful, not with the useful or the didactic. Rossetti formed his view of poetry through a close (= rigoroso) study of Keats’s poems and letters.
Another artist who anticipated the Aesthetic Movement was Swinburne: he was educated at Eaton and Oxford, where he was influenced by Rossetti. He was among the first in England to state that poetry must be independent of moral/didactic aims. Swinburne was also an enthusiastic supporter of Republican ideals and the cause of the Italian Risorgimento. He met Mazzini in London in 1867 and in the same year he wrote Song of Italy. Four years later, in 1871, he wrote Songs before Sunrise: these are poems which express his support for Mazzini in his struggle for independence.