Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Vision of Fiammetta, 1878
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
Rossetti was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator, and was the brother of poet Christina Rossetti and critic William Michael Rossetti. For many years, Rossetti worked on English translations of Italian poetry, he later created a method of painting in watercolours, using thick pigments mixed with gum to give rich effects similar to medieval illuminations. He also developed a novel drawing technique in pen-and-ink.
He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Rossetti's art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism, and in 1850, he met Elizabeth Siddal, an important model for the Pre-Raphaelite painters. Over the next decade she became his muse, his pupil, and his passion, they married in 1860. Rossetti's personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models, including Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris.
A Vision of Fiammetta portrays the subject of fourteenth-century Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio’s Elegia di Madonna Fiammetta, the story of a tragic love affair. The model was Maria Spartali Stillman. Imbued with symbolism, the painting is meant to portray the brief moment between life and death: the short-lived apple blossoms symbolizing the transience of beauty, the blood-red bird a messenger of death, butterflies symbolizing the soul, and an angel seen in the aureole around Fiammetta’s head. As she faces this moment between life and death, Fiammetta betrays little emotion, exuding instead a mysterious, allusive air.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-430: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 127mm)