Τετάρτη, 7 Ιουλίου 2010

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)


  Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English painter, poet, illustrator and translator.He is also one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brootherhood and a precursor of the Aesthetic movement. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats and his later poetry is characterised by the complex thought and feeling.

                
                                                       la ghirlandata                                                                                                                
  He was the son of Gabriel Pasquale Giuseppe Rossetti and Frances Polidori. He was born in London, his family and friends called him ''Gabriel'', but in publications put first the name ''Dante'' in honour of  Dante Alighieri. He was also the brother of poet Christina Rossetti, critic William Michael Rossetti and author Maria Francesca Rossetti. One of his plans was to become a poet, that's why he attended King's College School. However, he also showed interest in painting, under the influence of his studies in Medieval Italian art. He studied at Henry's Sass's Drawing Academy from 1841 to 1845 and then enrolled at the Antique School of the Royal Academy where in 1848 left from. Retained a close relationship with Ford Madox Brown.
Along with Hunt and John Everett Millais created The Pre-Raphaelite Brootherhood and he was mostly interested in the medieval side of the movement. He published several translations of Dante and other Italian Medieval poets. In 1850 Rossetti met Elizabeth Siddal who later became his wife and was model for Pre-Raphaelite painters.


a sea spell                                            
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                  
Her lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung spell
Between its chords; and as the wild notes swell,
The sea-bird for those branches leaves the sea.
But to what sound her listening ear stoops she?
What netherworld gulf-whispers doth she hear,
In answering echoes from what planisphere,
Along the wind, along the estuary?
She sinks into her spell: and when full soon
Her lips move and she soars into her song,
What creatures of the midmost main shall throng
In furrowed self-clouds to the summoning rune,
Till he, the fated mariner, hears her cry,
And up her rock, bare breasted, comes to die?

   Rossetti's first major paintings display some of the realist qualities of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His Girlhood of Mary and Ecce Ancilla Domini both portray Mary as a teenage girl. Rossetti prefered symbolic and mythological themes to realistic ones. This was also revealed through his later poetry. Criticism of his paintings caused him to withdraw from public exhibitions and turn to watercolours, which could be sold privately.
  In 1861 Rossetti published The Early Italian Poets including Dante's La Vita Nuova. He became inspired by Arthurian romance and medieval design as well as his friends William Morris and Burne-Jones. He used to write sonnets with some of his paintings such as ''Astarte Syriaca''.


                                            Astarte Syriaca                                                                               


                    Proserpine                    

Afar away the light that brings cold cheer
Unto this wall, - one instant and no more
Admitted at my distant palace-door
Afar the flowers of Enna from this drear
Dire fruit, which, tasted once, must thrall me here.
Afar those skies from this Tartarean grey
That chills me and afar how far away,
The nights that shall become the days that were.

Afar from mine own self I seem, and wing
Strange ways in thought, and listenfor a sign
And still some heart unto some soul doth pine,
O, Whose sounds mine inner sense in fain to bring,
Continually together murmuring) --
'Woe me for thee, unhappy Proserpine'.

   His wife Elizabeth died after an overdose of laudanum shortly after giving birth to a child. This incident made him really depressed, affected his painting and upon this death buried all of his published poems with his dead wife at Highgate Cemetary, though later dugged them up. He idealised her image as Dante's Beatrice in a number of paintings such as ''Beata Beatrix''.



                                                  Beata Beatrix

   These paintings influenced the Symbolist movement. Later tended to portray his new lover Fanny Cornforth as the epitome of physical eroticism as well as his mistress Jane Burden as an ethereal goddess.

      
                                   sybilla palmifera                                                     

  During this time Rossetti acquired an obsession for exotic animals and in particular wombats.At these years Rossetti was persuaded to exhume his buried poems from his wife's grave, thus in 1870 published them in the volume Poems by D. G. Rossetti. The sensuality and eroticism of the poems caused offence. One poem, ''Nuptial Sleep'' talks about a couple falling asleep after having sex. This was part of Rossetti's sonnet sequence The House of Life, a series of poems about physical and spiritual development of an intimate relationship. In 1881 Rossetti published a second volume of poems Ballads and Sonnets, which included the remaining sonnets of The House of Life.

SONNET V. Heart's Hope.

By what word's power, the key of paths untrod,
     Shall I the difficult deeps of Love explore,
     Till parted waves of Song yield up the shore
     Even as that sea which Israel crossed dryshod?
     For lo! in some poor rhythmic period,
     Lady, I fain would tell how evermore
     Thy soul I know not from thy body, nor
     Thee from myself, neither our love from God.

     Yea, in God's name, and Love's, and thine, would I
     10 Draw from one loving heart such evidence
     As to all hearts all things shall signify;
     Tender as dawn's first hill-fire, and intense
     As instantaneous penetrating sense,
     In Spring's birth-hour, of other Springs gone by.

  Toward the end of his life Rossetti sanked into a morbid state, darkened by drug addiction to chloral which caused mental instability. He spent his last years as a recluse. On Easter in 1882, he died at a country house of a friend. He is buried at Birchington-on-Sea, Kent in England.



                                                              Lady Lilith


                                     the bower meadow                                             

           
                                          Dante's dream at the time of the death of  Beatrice                                                               


                                        the salutation of Beatrice                                                                                                                                                                            


                                   the seed of David                                                                                                           



For additional information about Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his poetry see :http://www.rossettiarchive.org/



Art & Poetry artaumonde.blogspot.com/ 

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  1. Αυτό το σχόλιο αφαιρέθηκε από τον συντάκτη.

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  2. A young Fir-Wood

    THESE little firs to-day are things
    To clasp into a giant's cap,
    Or fans to suit his lady's lap.
    From many winters many springs
    Shall cherish them in strength and sap
    Till they be marked upon the map,
    A wood for the wind's wanderings.
    All seed is in the sower's hands:
    And what at first was trained to spread
    Its shelter for some single head,—
    Yea, even such fellowship of wands,—
    May hide the sunset, and the shade
    Of its great multitude be laid
    Upon the earth and elder sands.

    Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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