Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. (1828 - 1882).
W o r k
- a painter and a poet of decorative and descriptive poetry > a poet in his painting and a painter in his poetry
- founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (1848)
- fascinated with the female face and body, idealised women both sexually and spiritually, and saw them as an object of desire and worship
- painted women with dreamy stares as if breathless from visions of heaven x but: parted lips and voluptuous curves suggest an earthly kind of ecstasy
> combines spirituality and sensuality
- early poetry: in a less elaborate mode (“My Sister’s Sleep”)
- mature poetry: in a stunning polysyllabic diction giving an effect of opulence and density to his lines
- believes art should be concerned with the beautiful x not with the useful or didactic, holds ‘colour and meter’ superior to ‘all intellectual claims’
> anticipated the 1890s Aesthetic Movement
The House of Life (1870):
- a sonnet sequence on the relationship of spirit and body in love
- in the vein of Coventry Patmore’s The Angel in the House (1854 - 1863), an adoring long poem idolising his wife in her domesticity
“The Blessed Damozel” (1850):
- a heavenly yet at the same time fleshly vision of after-life
- a young woman waits for her lover in heaven, not enjoying the paradise, but suffering from loneliness
“A Half-Way Pause”, “Autumn Idleness”, and “The Woodspurge”:
- landscape poems striking for its intensity of vision
"The blessed damozel lean'd out / From the gold bar of Heaven; / Her eyes were deeper than the depth / Of waters still'd at even; / She had three lilies in her hand, / And the stars in her hair were seven."
The opening of "The Blessed Damozel" (1850).
(Selfportrait. 1847. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorGabriel Charles Dante Rossetti. Aka Dante Gabriel Rossetti. (1828 - 1882). British.
WorkPoet. Painter. Founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Author of "The Blessed Damozel" (1850).
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