Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) 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.
Rossetti had a lifelong interest in the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. The painting was inspired by Dante's poem La Vita Nuova. In this poem Dante dreams that he is led to the death-bed of Beatrice Portinari, who was the object of his unfulfilled love. Dante, in black, stands looking towards the dying Beatrice who is lying on a bed. Two female figures in green hold a canopy over her. An angel in red holds Dante's hand and leans forward to kiss Beatrice. In the painting, Rossetti creates a visionary world with complex symbols which include the green clothes of Beatrice's attendants, signifying hope; spring flowers in the foreground symbolising purity; and red doves for love.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-1009: card size 7" x 5" (178mm x 131mm)