Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

Beata Beatrix
Oil on canvas
864 x 660 mm
Tate Museum, London

Painted as a memorial to Rossetti's wife, Elizabeth Siddal, who died in 1862 (Rossetti modeled Beatrice after his deceased wife and frequent model).
It is one of his most intensely visionary, Symbolist pictures, and marks a new direction in his art. The painting represents the death of Beatrice in Dante's 'Vita Nuova'. Beatrice sits in a death-like trance, while a bird, the messenger of Death, drops a poppy into her hands. In the background the figures of Love and Dante gaze at each other, with the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo of Florence silhouetted behind them.

In an letter to his friend, Rossetti said he intended the painting "not as a representation of the incident of the death of Beatrice, but as an ideal of the subject, symbolized by a trance or sudden spiritual transfiguration."

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator.
Rossetti's art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti's work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures.
Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses.