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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

May - 13 - 2013
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Rossetti selbst

Self-portrait, 1847

Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti is an English poet, painter and translator. He was born to a family of an Italian political immigrant Gabriel Rossetti, poet, scholar and revolutionary. There were three more children in the family: Maria (1827-76) who became an Anglican nun and author of a literary commentary A Shadow of Dante; William Michael (1829-1919), critic, civil servant and Pre-Raphaelite historian, and Christina Georgina (1830-94), English poet. The household was artistic and more Italian than English.

He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.
Rossetti’s art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats. His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence The House of Life. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti’s work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, spanning from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877), while also creating art to illustrate poems such as Goblin Market by the celebrated poet Christina Rossetti, his sister.
Rossetti’s personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Morris.

Rossetti is an English poet, painter and translator. He was born to a family of an Italian political immigrant Gabriel Rossetti, poet, scholar and revolutionary. There were three more children in the family: Maria (1827-76) who became an Anglican nun and author of a literary commentary A Shadow of Dante; William Michael (1829-1919), critic, civil servant and Pre-Raphaelite historian, and Christina Georgina (1830-94), English poet. The household was artistic and more Italian than English.
Rossetti began his training in 1841 in Sass’s Drawing School; in 1846 he was accepted by the Royal Academy Antique School in London. Then he persuaded Ford Madox Brown to tutor him, but this was short-lived. In 1848, he became a co-founder (with William Holman Hunt and John Millais) of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; the painters of the trend turned away from neo-classicism and its models of Greco-Roman antiquity and the High Renaissance, and revived interest in the Middle Ages, especially in Gothic art.
Most of Rossetti’s work was produced in the spirit of this movement, despite his leaving it at an early date. Many of his themes were taken from the Old and New Testament, The Wedding of St George and Princess Sabra 1857Dante, or the medieval legends about the King Arthur and his knights, Malory’s Morte d’Arthur in particular, and treated with strong overtones of symbolism.
In 1850, he met Elisabeth Siddal, who sat for many of his pictures: The First Anniversary of the Death of Beatrice: Dante Drawing the Angel (1853), Dante’s Vision of Rachel and Leah(1855), Beata Beatrix (1864-1870) and for some by Hunt and Millais’s Ophelia, and whom he married in 1860 after a fraught and prolonged courtship. Already an invalid, she died in 1862 from an overdose of laudanum. Although it was an accident, the thought that his wife had committed suicide haunted Rossetti for the rest of his life.
He met Ruskin in 1854. Largely because of Ruskin, Rossetti was gaining a reputation as the ‘leader’ of the Pre-Raphaelites. He turned more and more in the direction of poetic painting, which he emphasized by attaching sonnets to the frames of his pictures. In 1861, The Early Italian Poets was published, translations from 60 poets such as Dante and Cavalcanti. Rossetti’s Poems appeared in 1870. His wife’s death, however affected him deeply and his work took a taint of pessimism and morbidity. Dante’s Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (1871), Proserpine (1874). He fell into depression and attempted suicide in 1872. Nevertheless, Balladsand Sonnets with the sonnet sequence The House of Life and The King’s Tragedy appeared in 1881. In his later years Rossetti concentrated on studies of single, allegorical female figures:Monna Vanna (1866), Mariana (1870), La Ghirlandata (18730, The Day Dream (1880).
“At odds with Victorian morality, his work is lush, erotic and medieval, romantic in spirit, and of abiding interest and fascination.”
Rossetti died on 9 April, Easter Sunday, 1882, of Bright’s disease.

 

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