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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Poet and Painter

Eben Bass

Although Dante Gabriel Rossetti vacillated between poetry and painting as his chief interest in life, he often succeeded in each of the arts; and despite his disclaimers, the one art often influenced the perception of the other. Even though the poems do not necessarily «see» like pictures nor the paintings «read» like poems, a careful study of Rossetti's work in both media reveals subtle narrative qualities to the lines of drawings and paintings, and painter-perception of images that appear in the poems. The interrelationship was not conscious or deliberate on Rossetti's part, but the lack of perspective in many paintings implies a poetic narrative, and the condensed style of the poems gives the «instantaneous» effect of a picture.
Contents: Dante Rossetti's association with the Pre-Raphaelites and his interest in Dante, Blake and Keats; Rossetti's non-Academic style of painting, sometimes Medieval; his poems for pictures and pictures for poems; his models; and his evocation of trance.