Dante Gabriel Rossetti Biography | Oil Paintings
5-12-1828 London, ENG - 4-9-1882 Kent, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Dante Gabriel Rossetti came from a hugely talented family. His father was a noted scholar while his sister Christina became a celebrated poet. For years Rossetti wavered between a career in art or literature, before devoting himself to painting. He wished to be a painter, having shown a great interest in Medieval Italian art. He studied at the Antique School of the Royal Academy, leaving in 1848. After leaving the Royal Academy, Rossetti studied under Ford Madox Brown, with whom he retained a close relationship throughout his life. While still only twenty, Dante Gabriel Rossetti helped to found the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the radical group that shook the Victorian art world with their controversial exhibits at the Royal Academy in 1848. The group included William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais.
Rossetti in search of Classical Beauty, Anxieties of the Victorian Age.
Influenced by the Nazarenes, the Pre-Raphaelites proposed a return to a pure style of painting that looked back to medieval art and the Italian masters, before the “modern manner” of Raphael, for inspiration. The Pre-Raphaelites were appalled by the dominant influence of sterile, academic art, which they linked with the teachings of Raphael, then regarded as the greatest Western painter.
Although championed by the critic Ruskin the Pre-Raphaelites effort were greeted with derision and this discouraged Dante Gabriel Rossetti from exhibiting again. During the 1850s, he concentrated on watercolors, but in the following decade, he began producing sensuous oils of women. These were given exotic and mysterious titles, such as Monna Vanna and were the precursors of the Femme Fatale which were so admired by Symbolists.
Inspired by Titian's painting, this portrait should be called Venetian Venus instead of Monna Vanna. Rossetti's femmes fatales reflect his relationship with women. He was extremely disturbed by the death of his wife Elizabeth in 1862, who committed suicide after giving birth to a still-born daughter. Rossetti felt remorse for the rest of his life and suffered from nightmares and depression. A note of profound melancholy can be sensed beneath the lavish pictorial style.
Toward the end of his life, because of his nightmares and depression, he became addicted to chloral hydrate, a powerful sedative, and hypnotic drug, he sank into a morbid darkened state and became more mentally unstable. Dante Gabriel Rossetti work influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.
Art Movement: Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Artists Influencing Gabriel Rossetti: Ford Madox Brown, William Bell Scott.
Painters Dante Rossetti Influenced: William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.