Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Aggie by Rossetti
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Name:Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dates:1828 - 1882


Address: 16 Cheyne Walk, SW3

Dates at address:1862 - 1882


Rossetti was the son of exiled Italian poet Gabriele Rossetti. Married to Frances Polidori they had four famous children, Maria, Dante, William and Christina. Rossetti studied at King’s College School with William, at Cary’s Art Academy and with Ford Madox Ford. Highly bohemian he rejected his mother’s evangelical Anglicanism and was totally apolitical. His only interest was in art and poetry, with Dante and Blake his particular heroes. He married his model Elizabeth Siddal in 1860.

In 1848 Rossetti joined Holman-Hunt and Millais in forming the Pre-Raphaelite movement, attacking the state of British art. He exhibited his first painting The Girlhood of Mary Virgin in 1849, painted under Holman-Hunt’s supervision. Inspired by religion and literature, especially Dante, he went on to create many paintings in the “primitive” style. He also joined Morris’s design company, producing designs like the Arthurian frescoes for the Oxford Union Building with Burne-Jones. Aside from painting Rossetti was also a poet. His most famous work was his highly erotic Poems published in 1870.

In 1862 Elizabeth died, plunging Rossetti into depression. After her death he rented Tudor House in Cheyne Walk, where he lived with Swinburne and a menagerie of incredible animals. These included armadillos, kangaroos, barn owls and two wombats. Relations with Morris collapsed and he began an affair with Jane Morris. After a severe breakdown in 1872 he unsuccessfully attempted suicide and suffered from persecution mania for the rest of his life.

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