Jane Austen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Mihai Eminescu, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, Vincent Van Gogh, and Ernest Hemingway, all famous figures who were perceived as acclaimed authorities of the literature and arts, and with the historical record, branded as “tormented souls.” If by chance, one may visit New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, they are likely to become intrigued with the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and equate him to the group. Other than his luxuriant artistic talents with the pen and painting, there is also an aura of obscurity, that shadows Rossetti’s life, an evenly gripping tale, indicative of great adversity and despondency.
In an era of cramped specialization, it is difficult to understand the multimedia abilities of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whose painting and poetry helped shape the Victorian Age into the paradox-loaded, chaotic situation of a period we know it as today (Lucas, 2013). In 1828, Dante, as some would identify him even as others knew him as Gabriel, was born, and bound to take his father’s way, exceed expectations, and outperform his scholarly achievements at half his dad’s age. Rossetti, the young fellow himself was bound to become an extraordinary name in the world of arts, yet he was not sure of the path he ought to take (Bullen, 2011). Caught in the middle of two mediums, poetry and painting, he was greatly motivated by the paintbrush instead of the pen.
Unconventional, narcissistic, yet extremely touchy, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a power to be reckoned with during his time. At an early stage, he plied his craft between poetry and painting, yet he is best known for establishing the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood alongside John Everett Millais (Holmes, 2017). Antagonistic of English scholarly painting’s delicate forms and what gave off an impression of being a careless morality, the Brotherhood aspired to a fresh, passionate style grasping the virtue and effortlessness of Italian art before Raphael (Treuherz, Prettejohn, & Becker, 2003). Utilizing elaborate imagery and minute detail, they painted from nature. Rossetti extended the faction’s aims by connecting social idealism, painting, and poetry by translating the term Pre-Raphaelite as equal to a romanticized medieval past (Bullen, 2011). In the second period of the movement in the mid-1850s, Rossetti picked up an effective but demanding patron in the art pundit, John Ruskin.
Critic, sponsor, and once an associate of Rossetti, John Ruskin once labeled the artist “a distinguished Italian entrapped in the Inferno of London.” Just as his 14th-century namesake, Dante often found himself caught in the middle of his aesthetic and moral universes, frequently suffering en route. Rossetti’s art ranged from the phenomenal crammed, meticulous canvases of his initial years, via the gem-like splendor of his medieval era, to the sexy, representative ladies of his late works (Lucas, 2013). He plundered the past for his painted and lovely pictures; however, his art was exceptionally his own, immediately recognizable and remarkable (Bullen, 2011). A pioneer of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, stereotyped by the anti-establishment art movement, Rossetti got himself both a piece of an immense care group of artists, but likewise alone in his quest for particular objectives.
With regards to the style of the Sixties, Rossetti transferred the dialect of painting to the field of graphic art. Working at first in the late fifties, when illustration was overwhelmed by the comic sketches of amateur architects designers like Richard Doyle and George Cruikshank, he was one of the first of the new age to demand that book-pictures ought to preserve the seriousness and scholastic principles of painting (Holmes, 2017). Rossetti’s approach, similar to that of his counterparts, was far-reaching. Instead of caricature, he stressed anatomical accuracy and draftsmanship; humor was supplanted by scholarly critique, mental dramatization, yearning, and glorified magnificence; contemporary life by sexuality and medieval opulence (Treuherz, Prettejohn, & Becker, 2003). Not as much as eccentric, Rossetti’s depictions are an inquisitive mix of painterly precision, startling deformations, private iconography, and unusual ornaments. Intimate, individual, and marred by a flat-out feeling of expressive intentionality, they normally expand the ‘wonderful’ vision of his paintings.
Through his investigation of new topics and his split from scholastic tradition, Rossetti remains a critical figure in 19th-century English art. However, his lasting worth most likely lies as much in his poetry as in his painting. As opposed to his painting, where amassed points of interest of greenery and costume can wind up cloying, the detail in Rossetti’s poetry is subordinated to the intensity of feeling and is utilized to bring out a mood (Holmes, 2017). It is by means of minor and apparently unimportant touches, for instance, that time is suspended in his sonnet “My Sister’s Sleep” and the very quiet of the sick room is heard. “The Wood Spurge” and the lyric “I have been here previously” demonstrate Rossetti’s proficiency of comparative effects (Lucas, 2013). The ageless moment is again captured with extraordinary aptitude in his poem “A Venetian Pastoral by Giorgione in the Louver”— the best of his very unique endeavors to make an interpretation of famous paintings into verse (Treuherz, Prettejohn, & Becker, 2003). “The Stream’s Secret,” troubled by the apparition of his deceased wife, brings out sadness and lament through the energy of its verbal melody. Rossetti was a true master of the poem, and his best accomplishment, “The House of Life,” is an ode sequence remarkable in the power of its inspiration of the puzzles of physical and divine love.
Had he been capable when young to pick a literary profession, he would presumably have been a superior poet to the painter; he was a really unique and handy essayist. To some degree, his accomplishment was sensational: he inspired others in numerous ways not easily estimated. Nevertheless, instability and contrition were prominent in everything except his most early ballads. Overall, it is hard to envision late 19th-century Victorian art and poetry without Rossetti’s influence. His compositions can maybe best be seen as a surprisingly intense articulation of Victorian social insecurity and lack of faith. Rossetti’s poetry on the dearth of affection is as somberly hopeless as any of the century, and no writer of his period passed on more significantly Victorian tensions: metaphysical hesitation, dread of time, and sexual uneasiness. Dante Rossetti revolutionized poetry and painting, and he had a massive influence on the development of mid-Victorian art. He just contributed to four books, delivering a measly twelve illustrations, yet his art had broad ramifications. Broadly respected, his works are the subject of an assortment of elucidations, and it is possibly impossible to reach a consensus of opinion.
Bullen, J. B. (2011). Rossetti: Painter & Poet. Frances Lincoln Limited.
Holmes, J. (2017). Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Late Victorian Sonnet Sequence: Sexuality, Belief and the Self. Routledge.
Lucas, F. L. (2013). Dante Gabriel Rossetti – an anthology. Cambridge University Press,
Treuherz, J., Prettejohn, E., & Becker, E. (2003). Dante Gabriel Rossetti. New York: Thames & Hudson.