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.


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.


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.


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.


References in periodicals archive ?
11) Jerome McGann, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Game That Must Be Lost (New Haven: Yale Univ.
12) The relationship between the Pre-Raphaelities and the French Troubadour painters of the post-Restoration period, especially Ary Scheffer, remains to be studied in detail, but see my "'La Bocca Mi Bacio': The Love Kiss in the Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti," Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, NS 16 (Spring 2007): 42n7 for some observations regarding Scheffer's possible impact on Rossetti's Paolo and Francesca da Rimini (1855).
At the end of his 1883 essay on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater notes hat poetry has historically exercised two distinct functions.
Two chapters are devoted to Wharton's critical response to the representation of women in the painting and the poetry of Dante Gabriel Rossetti as seen in characters in The age of innocence and The buccaneers.
Some years after Goldman's purchase of the work, his son Charles bought a number of preparatory studies for it, but most were sold by his grandsons at auction in 1963 along with further works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, some of which are now in Lord Lloyd-Webber's collection.
willow wood, a Cantata for baritone, women's chorus and orchestra is a setting of words by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, first heard in Liverpool in September 1909 at a Music League Festival.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was one of the co-founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of painters and poets who harked back to the supposed purity and richness of medieval times.
The great Pre-Raphaelite Dante Gabriel Rossetti, meanwhile, preferred his women to be beautiful, voluptuous and painted in oils.
Like Rossetti, who metamorphosed from Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Watts adopted the nom de plume Theodore Watts-Dunton (appending his mother's name to his own) in 1896 (Mollie Panter-Downes, At the Pines: Swinburne, Watts-Dunton and Putney [Boston: Gambit, 1971], p.
p DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI, who by changing round his real name, Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti, gave himself one of the best names in painting.
The picture is by William Holman Hunt and it shows Dante Gabriel Rossetti.