Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

The Girlhood of Mary Virgin
Oil on canvas
83.2 x 65.4 cm
Tate Gallery, London

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) was an English poet and painter.
His art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement. Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses.

Rossetti regarded the Virgin Mary as the highest type of female virtue.
The Virgin Mary is shown here as a young girl, working on an embroidery with her mother, St Anne. Her father, St Joachim, is pruning a vine.
Some of the main symbols include: the lily for purity, the vine for the Truth, the dove for the Holy Spirit, the lamp is a symbol of piety, the rose is associated with the Virgin, the books, each a different color, represent the three theological virtues and three of the four cardinal virtues (Justice being omitted) - gold for Charity, blue for Faith, green for Hope, buff for Prudence, white for Temperance and brown for fortitude.
This was Rossetti’s first completed oil painting and the first picture to be exhibited with the initials ‘PRB’, for Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, inscribed on it.