LONDON

Artist: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

By
Lisa Tant
Monna Rosa, 1867
La Viuda Romana, 1874
A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878
A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878

A work of art in the world of Fleurs de Villes starts with blooms. We will continue to bring you our favourites in all forms - photography, abstract paintings or sculptures - to introduce you to the role of flowers in art. 

One historical period that we love is the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882), the painter, designer, writer and translator who was widely acknowledged as the most important and original artistic force of the latter 19th century in Great Britain. Born in London in 1828, Rossetti was part of a loose brotherhood of young British artists who banded together in 1848 in reaction to the Royal Academy’s promotion of Raphael, the High Renaissance Master known for his classic execution of form and epic religious scenes. Calling themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the group considered Raphael’s work unimaginative and artificial. Their mission? A return to the aesthetic before Raphael - who painted 400 years earlier.

19th century British society - the Victorians - were aghast at the realistic sensuality of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The artists chose their wives, mistresses or common women (a seamstress for example), as muses versus prim aristocrats. These tall willowy sensual women with their pale skin, long wavy hair and moody expressions shocked uptight Victorian standards of decorum and respectability. Yet, the Pre-Raphaelites inspired change and their romantic influence lasted to the end of the 19th century, continuing today with reproductions of their work - Rossetti in particular - in everything from posters to greeting cards. Rossetti, a prolific artist, often featured flowers in his lush oil on canvas works - three of our favourites are featured here: 

Monna Rosa, 1867

Shipping magnate, Frederick Dawson Leyland, commissioned 18 portraits from Rossetti. Monna Rosa is the title of two paintings, both of Leyland’s wife. The second one shown here features Frances cutting a rose - a sign of affection - to place in her hair. It’s now part of a private collection. 


La Viuda Romana, 1874

The Roman Widow, painted in 1874, is a classic example of Rossetti’s favourite muse - dressmaker Alexa Wilding who sat for more of his works than anyone else. The pink roses on her harp and around her late husband’s urn, signify the flowers of Venus and love. The Roman Widow is currently in the collection of Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico.

A work of art in the world of Fleurs de Villes starts with blooms. We will continue to bring you our favourites in all forms - photography, abstract paintings or sculptures - to introduce you to the role of flowers in art. 

One historical period that we love is the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, led by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882), the painter, designer, writer and translator who was widely acknowledged as the most important and original artistic force of the latter 19th century in Great Britain. Born in London in 1828, Rossetti was part of a loose brotherhood of young British artists who banded together in 1848 in reaction to the Royal Academy’s promotion of Raphael, the High Renaissance Master known for his classic execution of form and epic religious scenes. Calling themselves the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the group considered Raphael’s work unimaginative and artificial. Their mission? A return to the aesthetic before Raphael - who painted 400 years earlier.

19th century British society - the Victorians - were aghast at the realistic sensuality of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The artists chose their wives, mistresses or common women (a seamstress for example), as muses versus prim aristocrats. These tall willowy sensual women with their pale skin, long wavy hair and moody expressions shocked uptight Victorian standards of decorum and respectability. Yet, the Pre-Raphaelites inspired change and their romantic influence lasted to the end of the 19th century, continuing today with reproductions of their work - Rossetti in particular - in everything from posters to greeting cards. Rossetti, a prolific artist, often featured flowers in his lush oil on canvas works - three of our favourites are featured here: 

Monna Rosa, 1867
Monna Rosa, 1867
La Viuda Romana, 1874
La Viuda Romana, 1874

Monna Rosa, 1867

Shipping magnate, Frederick Dawson Leyland, commissioned 18 portraits from Rossetti. Monna Rosa is the title of two paintings, both of Leyland’s wife. The second one shown here features Frances cutting a rose - a sign of affection - to place in her hair. It’s now part of a private collection. 


La Viuda Romana, 1874

The Roman Widow, painted in 1874, is a classic example of Rossetti’s favourite muse - dressmaker Alexa Wilding who sat for more of his works than anyone else. The pink roses on her harp and around her late husband’s urn, signify the flowers of Venus and love. The Roman Widow is currently in the collection of Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico.

A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878
A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878
A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878
A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878

A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878

Fiammetta was the muse of Boccacio, a 14th century poet, whose sonnet “On His Last Sight of Fiammetta” inspired Rossetti’s painting. The apple blossoms surrounding the model, Maria Spartali Stillman, signify fleeting beauty. This glorious portrait is one half of a pair - the other being Ballads and Sonnets painted in 1881. A wealthy Greek merchant's daughter, Stillman started as a model but later became a respected and prolific painter herself. A Vision of Fiammetta is currently in the collection of Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878
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