Dante Gabriel Rossetti Biography & Artwork

Dante Gabriel Rossetti had later changed the order of his name because he wanted to stress on his kingship. He was born on 12th may 1828.

His father was an Italian patriot because of his political activities. He has sibling Maria (1827 to 76) and William Michael (1829-1919). All these kids grew up with very fluent English and also Italian.

 Dante Gabriel Rossetti - 1870 Self portrait - London, National Portrait Gallery
Dante Gabriel Rossetti – 1870 Self-portrait – London, National Portrait Gallery

Dante went to the Kings College School from years 1837 to 1842. He soon left school and joined the Royal Academy at F. S. Carys Academy of Art. In the year 1848, he exhibited his most important painting, the girlhood of Mary Virgin and Ecce Ancilla Domini. At around the same time, he met Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal. He became the model for his many paintings.

Later she got engaged in 1851 but waited for 9 years before getting married. In 1860 he married Elizabeth Eleanor. He was later given the work of covering the entire walls of Oxford Debating Union. It was then that he met the William Morris.

It was in the late 60s that Rossetti started suffering from health problems. He suffered from eyesight problem and also the problem of weak eyesight. He then started drinking chloral by mixing it with whiskey. He found this to be the solution to his insomnia.

But it worked to his disadvantage and his depression became even graver. It was Robert Buchannan’s attack on Rossetti that completely changes him as a person.

It was in the summer of 1872, that he suffered a complete mental breakdown. There is also evidence that proves that he also tried committing suicide a number of times. He was then taken to Scotland and after some years he improved and he started painting once again.

His health did not improve though and in1882 he died because of a kidney failure.

He was so famous and is still known now because he was a great painter and a great poet. He was known as one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite movement for arts.

Like the other people of the Victorian age, Rossetti used very florid language. His poetry was such that it was baroque to someone who is a contemporary writer. He has an immense influence on the development in the 19th century.

He was a very talented artist who had not only literary skills but also visual skills. He also tried his best to emphasise on the spiritual values with the help of his work.

Photograph of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Photograph of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Artworks

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Beata Beatrix
Dante Gabriel Rossetti Beata Beatrix

Completed in 1870, Beata Beatrix is an oil on canvas painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It shows Beatrice Portinari from Dante Alighieri’s poem La Vita Nuova at the moment of her death. The painting’s meaning in English is ‘Blessed Beatrice’.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti quotes

Sometimes thou seem’st not as thyself alone, But as the meaning of all things that are.

The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has nobody to thank.

Her enchanted hair was the first gold,
and still she sits, young while the earth is old.

Beauty without the beloved is a like a sword through the heart.

Places that are empty of you are empty of life.

Poems

In 1847 and 1848 Rossetti began several important early poems—”My Sister’s Sleep,” “The Blessed Damozel,” “The Bride’s Prelude,” “On Mary’s Portrait,” “Ave,” “Jenny,” “Dante at Verona,” “A Last Confession,” and several sonnets, a form in which he eventually became expert. His early poetry shows influenced by John Keats.

Many times he wrote sonnets along with his pictures, from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877). Interestingly, he also created art to illustrate poems such as “Goblin Market” by the his sister, poet Christina Rossetti.

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