Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

(dăn`tē gā`brēəl rōsĕt`ē), 1828–82, English poet and painter; son of Gabriele Rossetti and brother of Christina Rossetti. He was one of the founders of the Pre-RaphaelitesPre-Raphaelites
, brotherhood of English painters and poets formed in 1848 in protest against what they saw as the low standards and decadence of British art. The principal founders were D. G. Rossetti, W.
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. In addition to attending the Royal Academy he studied painting briefly with Ford Madox Brown. In 1848 he became acquainted with W. Holman HuntHunt, William Holman,
1827–1910, English painter. Hunt was a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and one of its most conscientious exponents. His paintings are often crude in color and laborious in technique, but are completely sincere in their devotion to
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 and John Everett MillaisMillais, Sir John Everett
, 1829–96, English painter. A prodigy, he began studying at the Royal Academy at the age of 11. In 1848, together with William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he initiated the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
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 and with them formed the brotherhood of Pre-Raphaelites. In an effort to spread their ideas the group published in 1850 a short-lived magazine, the Germ, edited by Rossetti's brother William Michael Rossetti (1829–1919). In it was printed "The Blessed Damozel" by Dante Gabriel, written when he was 19 and considered by many to be his best poem. In 1851, John Ruskin championed the Pre-Raphaelites, and shortly thereafter made an arrangement with Rossetti to buy all of Rossetti's paintings that pleased him; thus, Rossetti became financially solvent. In 1860 he married his model Elizabeth Siddal, a former milliner's assistant whom he loved and had been more or less engaged to for nearly 10 years. Melancholic and tubercular, she took an overdose of laudanum and died in 1862. Rossetti, in a fit of guilt and grief, buried with her a manuscript containing a number of his poems. Some years later he permitted her body to be exhumed and the poems recovered. The first edition of his collected works appeared in 1870. The last years of his life were marked by an increasingly morbid state of mind (he became addicted to alcohol and chloral), and for a time he was considered insane. Although he began his career as a painter, Rossetti's lasting reputation rests upon his poetry. He never really mastered the technique of painting, and although his pictures are extremely sensuous, they are also somewhat two-dimensional. His best artistic efforts are his drawings, particularly the pen-and-ink portraits of his mother, his sister, and his wife. Almost inseparable in tone and feeling from his paintings, his poetry is noted for its pictorial effects and its atmosphere of luxurious beauty. Although there is always passion in his verse, there is also always thought. He was a master of the sonnet form, and his sonnet sequence "The House of Life" is one of his finest works. His other notable works include the ballad "Sister Helen" and the dramatic monologues "Jenny" and "A Last Confession." His translations from the Italian appeared as Dante and His Circle (1861). There are examples of his paintings in the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and in many collections in England and the United States.

Bibliography

See his poems (ed. by O. Doughty, 1957); biographies by O. Doughty (2d ed. 1963), E. Waugh (1928, repr. 1969), and A. Faxon (1989); studies by S. A. Brooke (1908, repr. 1964), G. H. Fleming (1967), R. S. Fraser, ed. (1972), J. Rees (1981), and D. G. Riede (1983).

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

 

(real name, Gabriel Dante Rossetti). Born May 12, 1828, in London; died Apr. 9, 1882, in Birchington-on-Sea, Kent. English painter and poet, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. Son of G. Rossetti.

Rossetti studied in London at Sass’ drawing school (from 1843) and at the Academy of Arts (from 1845). He later studied with F. M. Brown. Rejecting the art of his day as vulgarly prosaic, Rossetti turned to Italian primitive painting as his source of inspiration. He borrowed themes from Italian medieval and Early Renaissance poetry (especially that of Dante), medieval legends and chronicles, and the works of the English romantics.

Rossetti endowed his works with a certain sensuousness and, at the same time, with elements of mysticism (for example, the painting The Girlhood of the Virgin, 1849, Tate Gallery, London; the poem “The Blessed Damozel,” 1850). His paintings, which were almost unfailingly depictions of women, paradoxically combine the intense feelings of his heroines with static and frozen poses and gestures. The figures are given three-dimensionality, yet the background is decorative, often with floral ornamentation, and executed in brilliant colors and delicate lines that in many ways anticipated the art nouveau style (for example, Beata Beatrix, 1863, Tate Gallery, London; Dante’s Dream, 1870–71, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).

Rossetti’s poetry is noted for its lively and vivid imagery, fluid language, and precise metaphors. It is marked by unexpected associations and vivid detail (for example, the collections Poems, 1870; Ballads and Sonnets, vols. 1–2, 1881). A number of Rossetti’s poems are devoted to the Italian people’s struggle for liberation.

Rossetti illustrated and designed many books. He and W. Morris designed wall panels and stained-glass windows. Rossetti also produced a number of monumental decorative paintings.

WORKS

Collected Works, vols. 1–2. London, 1890.
The Complete Poetical Works. Boston, 1903.
Letters, vols. 1–4. Oxford, 1965–67.
In Russian translation:
In the book Antologiia novoi angliiskoipoezii. Leningrad, 1937.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1958. Pages 23–28.
Johnston, R. D. D. G. Rossetti. New York, 1969.
Surtees, V. The Paintings and Drawings of D. G. Rossetti, vols. 1–2. Oxford, 1971.

T. I. VOLODINA

References in periodicals archive ?
More generally, the letters of William Morris, Christina Rossetti, and Dante Rossetti have swelled the ranks of these annual reviews for the better part of twenty-five years.
3) in the work of Dante Rossetti, Walter Pater, Theodore Watts-Dunton, Eugene Lee-Hamilton, and Thomas Hardy, with particular attention to the "iconic aesthetic image of the human face and form mediated through shadows, spirits, ghosts, body substitutes, paintings, sculptures, or cultural fragments" (p.
Indeed, Dante Rossetti in his own letters at least twice recalls how his sister had been, even in her youth, "poignantly melancholy," that is--in today's clinical terminology--depressed.
Rebecca Solomon wrote to Dante Rossetti to seek his advice on one of her paintings, remark on her impoverished state, and (sadly) implore him to hire her as an assistant.
In "'Had such a lady spoken for herself': Confronting the Legacy," she anchors Rossetti's A Pageant and Other Poems and writings on Dante once again "in the community of female Rossettis and its values," and comments on these works' rejections of the allegorical and amatory interpretations of the Divina Commedia endorsed by Gabriele Rossetti and Dante Rossetti.
But, as we are all well aware, even in the last years of his work upon this edition, new forms of textual editing were overtaking us, and it is clear that all forms of editorial work must now begin to obey the mandates of an era dominated by electronic scholarship (perhaps represented in its most visionary form, at least for students of Pre-Raphaelitism, in the Dante Rossetti Archive).