The Day Dream – Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882), generally known as Dante Gabriel Rossetti (/rəˈzɛti/), was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator, and member of the Rossetti family. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. Rossetti was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Rossetti’s art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats. His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence, The House of Life. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti’s work. He frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, spanning from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877), while also creating art to illustrate poems such as Goblin Market by the celebrated poet Christina Rossetti, his sister.

Rossetti’s personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal (whom he married), Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris.

During 1878 Rossetti completed a chalk sketch of Morris, his secret lover, whom he had met at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, in 1857. She was the model for several of his well-known paintings, including Proserpine. The drawing was displayed above the mantlepiece in Rossetti’s studio. Initially the painting was to be called Monna Primavera, or Vanna Primavera, possibly inspired by La Vita Nuova, a narrative that captivated Rossetti and was the basis for earlier of his works of art. Rossetti was also a poet and penned sonnets to accompany several of his paintings; the last composition in his series entitled Sonnets for Pictures is associated with this painting. The sonnet reads:

The thronged boughs of the shadowy sycamore
Still bear young leaflets half the summer through;
From when the robin ‘gainst the unhidden blue
Perched dark, till now, deep in the leafy core,
The embowered throstle’s urgent wood-notes soar
Through summer silence. Still the leaves come new;
Yet never rosy-sheathed as those which drew
Their spiral tongues from spring-buds heretofore.

Within the branching shade of Reverie
Dreams even may spring till autumn; yet none be
Like woman’s budding day-dream spirit-fann’d.
Lo! tow’rd deep skies, not deeper than her look,
She dreams; till now on her forgotten book
Drops the forgotten blossom from her hand.

Rossetti was not initially fully satisfied with the painting and he made several revisions to it. He wrote to Morris apologising for copying the feet of another woman into the picture. An earlier painting of Morris, entitled The Salutation of Beatrice, had similarly used a different model’s hands in the final version.

Information copied from wikipedia – This page was last edited on 7 December 2020, at 03:01 (UTC).
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