Christina Rossetti’s rich childhood, personal and familial strives, and the Pre-Raphaelite movement aided her to use her poems as a tool of personal expression of the inner turmoil of religious and family obligations and a personal longing in her soul....
(1863), a posthumous portrait of Elizabeth Siddal, the Beatrice to his Dante, is one of Rossetti's most deeply felt paintings: it is his last masterpiece and the first in a series of symbolical female portraits, which declined gradually in quality as his interest in painting decreased.His PoetryAlthough early in his career poetry was for Rossetti simply a relaxation from painting, later on writing gradually became more important to him, and in 1871 he wrote to Ford Madox Brown, "I wish one could live by writing poetry.
Encyclopedia-type introduction to Christina Rossetti's life, themes, style, and techniques. Also, text for some of her most famous poems, a list of her works, and a recommended reading list. .
Prof. George Landow's has essays on Christina Rossetti's writing techniques, themes, biography, and the Victorian background. a short essay on Christina Rossetti's poem "In an Artist's Studio," which presumably refers to Dante Gabriel Rossetti's relationship with Elizabeth Siddal.
His works show an impassioned, mystic imagination in strong contrast to the banal sentimentality of contemporary Victorian art.Born on May 12, 1828, of Anglo-Italian parentage, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was steeped throughout childhood in the atmosphere of medieval Italy, which became a major source of his subject matter and artistic inspiration.
His obsession with Dante impacted his work, both literary and artistic; from his masterpiece "Beata Beatrix" to his poetry buried with wife Elizabeth Siddal, he lived and worked under the duality of beauty, the fight between the body and the soul, best expressed in "The House o...
Their father, Gabriele Rossetti, was an Italian poet and a political asylum seeker from Naples, and their mother, Frances Polidori, was the sister of Lord Byron's friend and physician, John William Polidori.
Christina Rossetti could be described as one of the 19th Century's 'great odd women.' Even though she did have a variety of poems, no one has said she was a 'great' poet; however, the reason why we are so interested in her is because she was writing poetry in Victorian England and middle - class women were not seen to have any power....
But even if we concede this; even if we allow, in the very plan of those two compositions, something of the literary conceit--what exquisite, what novel flowers of poetry, we must admit them to be, as they stand! In the one, what a delight in all the natural beauty of water, all its details for the eye of a painter; in the other, how subtle and fine the imaginative hold upon all the secret ways of sleep and dreams! In both of them, with much the same attitude and tone, Love--sick and doubtful Love--would fain inquire of what lies below the surface of sleep, and below the water; stream or dream being forced to speak by Love's powerful "control"; and the poet would have it foretell the fortune, issue, and event of his wasting passion. Such artifices, indeed, were not unknown in the old Provencal poetry of which Dante had learned something. Only, in Rossetti at least, they are redeemed by a serious purpose, by that sincerity of his, which allies itself readily to a serious beauty, a sort of grandeur of literary workmanship, to a great style. One seems to hear there a really new kind of poetic utterance, with effects which have nothing else like them; as there is nothing else, for instance, like the narrative of Jacob's Dream in Genesis, or Blake's design of the Singing of the Morning Stars, or Addison's Nineteenth Psalm.
Poetry as a mania--one of Plato's two higher forms of "divine" mania--has, in all its species, a mere insanity incidental to it, the "defect of its quality," into which it may lapse in its moment of weakness; and the insanity which follows a vivid poetic anthropomorphism like that of Rossetti may be noted here and there in his work, in a forced and almost grotesque materialising of abstractions, as Dante also became at times a mere subject of the scholastic realism of the Middle Age.
One of the peculiarities of The Blessed Damozel was a definiteness of sensible imagery, which seemed almost grotesque to some, and was strange, above all, in a theme so profoundly visionary. The gold bar of heaven from which she leaned, her hair yellow like ripe corn, are but examples of a general treatment, as naively detailed as the pictures of those early painters contemporary with Dante, who has shown a similar care for minute and definite imagery in his verse; there, too, in the very midst of profoundly mystic vision. Such definition of outline is indeed one among many points in which Rossetti resembles the great Italian poet, of whom, led to him at first by family circumstances, he was ever a lover--a "servant and singer," faithful as Dante, "of Florence and of Beatrice"--with some close inward conformities of genius also, independent of any mere circumstances of education. It was said by a critic of the last century, not wisely though agreeably to the practice of his time, that poetry rejoices in abstractions. For Rossetti, as for Dante, without question on his part, the first condition of the poetic way of seeing and presenting things is particularisation. "Tell me now," he writes, for Villon's
George and the Princess Sabra (1857), characteristic products of Rossetti's inflamed sensibility, with typically irrational perspective and lighting, glowing color, and forceful figures.In almost all his paintings of the 1850s Rossetti used Elizabeth Siddal as his model.