Pre-Raphelite Rossetti's literary inspiration was Dante’s Vita Nuova (‘New Life’), which explores the Italian poet’s love for Beatrice and her premature death. The beautiful female figure holds a white poppy which was dropped by a dove.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
86.4 x 66 cm
Oil on canvas
Date of work
English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti left the RA Schools in 1848 and in the same year founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood along with Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais. In 1850 he painted his first subject from the works of Dante, who remained a lifelong inspiration. From 1854 he prospered under the patronage of John Ruskin. After the suicide of his wife and pupil Elizabeth Siddal, he lived in great style, with a menagerie of animals. From 1868 to the mid-1870s he conducted an affair with Jane, the wife of William Morris. She remained his principal muse until his death and he immortalized her in such works as Proserpine.