Pre-Raphaelite is a genre of art created primarily by a group of artists who called themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The group was founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti and later joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens, and Thomas Woolner. The original goal of the brotherhood was to eschew the tropes of popular art trends of the day and return to the pre-Raphaelite style of classical art like Quattrocento. Artists were expected to use their respective mediums to discover the underlying genuine truth of art to make quality pieces that aren't shackled to popular themes and poses. The group was heavily influenced by Romanticism and, early in the Brotherhood's formation, there was a schism between artists who focused on depicting nature and material reality, and those who drew inspiration from myth, legend, and medieval culture. The sytle lasted well into the 1900s.
Over the years, additional artists became associated to the genre including: John Brett, Ford Madox Brown, Lucy Madox Brown, Richard Burchett, Edward Burne-Jones, John Collier, Charles Allston Collins, Frank Cadogan Cowper, Walter Deverell, Frederick Startridge Ellis, Henry Holiday, Arthur Hughes, Edward Robert Hughes, Mary Lizzie Macomber, Robert Braithwaite Martineau, Louisa, Marchioness of Waterford, May Morris, William Morris, Christina Rossetti, Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys, Emma Sandys, Thomas Seddon, Frederic Shields, Elizabeth Siddal, Simeon Solomon, Marie Spartali Stillman, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Henry Wallis, John William Waterhouse, and William Lindsay Windus.
Although I enjoyed Pre-Raphaelites paintings for several years, I didn't actually know the name of the genre until a woman I was dating in the early 2000s used the term to describe a painting I expressed a fondness for. Once I knew the name of the genre, I was able to find more artists who painted in the style. I really loved the genre in my late teens and early 20s, not just because of how real the paintings looked, but also because of the romance depicted in the works.
Later in my life, when I started taking seriously how much the objectification of women damages an equitable society, I realized how the Pre-Raphaelites often depicted women as layabouts, damsels in distress, and sexual prizes. A large part of this comes from the fact that women were still second-class citizens in the late-1800s and early-1900s, as well as the fact that the mythology source material grossly objectifies women, but that shouldn't act as an excuse. Much of the genre's paintings could fairly be called pre-photographic pornography, however, there really is an artistic quality to be seen; the Pre-Raphaelites used an exceedingly high level of detail and impressive use of palette. I now find a lot of the paintings to be a bit juvenile, but I'm still enticed by the more sexual works.