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Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood

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Dawn Moline
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2009, 11:28:22 pm »

Throughout his relationship with Elizabeth Siddal, Rossetti painted and drew her repeatedly and almost obsessively, creating what Ford Madox Brown termed a “drawer full of Guggums” (Rossetti and Siddal’s pet name for each other).  In later years, Rossetti fixed upon Jane Morris as his muse and recreated her image again and again with the same diligence that he had applied to Siddal’s paintings and drawings, but with a new depth and style.  He had reached a new phase artistically and brought forth some his  most recognizable works.

Author Henry James had seen Rossetti’s paintings of Jane during a visit to Rossetti’s studios.  Upon seeing Jane in person, he had this to write:

    “A figure cut out of a missal – out of one of Rossetti’s or Hunt’s pictures – to say this gives but a faint idea of her, because when such an image puts on flesh and blood, it is an apparition of fearful and wonderful intensity.  It’s hard to say [whether] she’s  a grand synthesis of all the pre-Raphaelite pictures ever made – or they a “keen analysis” of her -  whether she’s an original or a copy.  In either case she is a wonder.  Imagine a tall lean woman in a long dress of some dead purple stuff, guiltless of hoops (or of anything else, I should say) with a mass of crisp black hair heaped into  great wavy projections on each of her temples, a thin pale face, a pair of strange, sad, deep, dark Swinburnish eyes, with great thick black oblique brows, joined in the middle and tucking themselves under her hair, a mouth like “Oriana” in our illustrated Tennyson, a long neck, without any collar, and in lieu thereof some dozen strings of outlandish beads – in fine Complete.  On the wall was a large nearly full-length portrait of her by Rossetti, so strange and unreal that if you hadn’t seen her, you’d pronounce it a distempered vision, but in fact an extremely good likeness.”

http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/
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Dawn Moline
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2009, 11:28:45 pm »



Proserpine, D.G. Rossetti
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« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2009, 11:29:16 pm »



Astarte Syriaca
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Dawn Moline
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« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2009, 11:29:51 pm »

Lizzie Siddal on recent Pre-Raphaelites documentary

Posted on 31 August 2009 | No responses

This post  contains embedded video which may not be visible if you are reading in a feed reader. If media is not visible, please visit http://www.preraphaelitesisterhood.com
Millais was one of the first artists to portray Ophelia in the process of drowning. Couple this bold move with his Pre-Raphaelite dedication to “truth to nature” and you have a stunning, accurate painting. The video below illustrates and explains how Millais painted Ophelia and Lizzie’s experience modeling:

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Dawn Moline
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« Reply #19 on: October 14, 2009, 11:30:48 pm »

PRB 4

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« Reply #20 on: October 14, 2009, 11:31:44 pm »

This episode of The Pre-Raphaelites documentary begins to discuss Lizzie as an artist around the 6:54 mark:

PRB 5

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« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2009, 11:32:32 pm »

Poetry Animation: Christina Rossetti’s The Echo

Posted on 26 August 2009 | No responses

YouTube user poetryanimations has a haunting body of work.  I’ve embedded one of my favorites below, Christina Rossetti’s The Echo:

Christina Rossetti "Echo" Victorian Poem movie animation

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« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2009, 11:33:35 pm »

Pippa Passes



Pippa Passes, Elizabeth Siddal

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« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2009, 11:34:17 pm »

Elizabeth Siddal, discovered in a millinery shop, was not content to be merely an artistís model.  She could have been satisfied with her role as the lofty muse to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but instead chose to pursue inspirations and desires of her own.  I admire the fact that in an era where women were not encouraged to achieve anything, Lizzie expressed a desire to learn and develop her craft.

True, she did not have the advantages that others in the Pre-Raphaelite circle enjoyed.  She could not have entered the Royal Academy at  a young age as Millais had, nor could she have sent a simpering and flattering letter to Ford Madox Brown as Rossetti had done, thus procuring Brown as a mentor (after convincing Brown that the letter was genuine and not an attempt to mock).
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« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2009, 11:35:13 pm »

I’ve seen Siddal’s work criticized as derivative of Rossetti’s, which has to be natural to a certain extent.  She was his pupil, after all. And they worked in such close quarters that it can not be helped that he would influence her work a great deal.  I speak, though, as someone who holds a fascination for Elizabeth Siddal.  I am  not an art critic and I’m sorry to say that I am no scholar.  Perhaps I approach it with an uneducated eye, but I am convinced that over the years  some authors and critics have looked at Lizzie’s work mainly in the shadows of Rossetti’s and fail to judge her work on its own merits.

One of my favorite drawings of Lizzie’s is an illustration of Pippa Passes, a poem by Robert Browning.  Pippa is a naive, innocent girl and Browning’s poem follows her as she travels through the tough neighborhoods of Asolo.  Lizzie chose to illustrate the passage where Pippa encounters a group of prostitutes.  Lizzie uses posture and body language to show the difference between the lives of Pippa and the fallen women.  Pippa stands erect and tall, which is interesting to me since Lizzie’s own perfect posture has been frequently mentioned.  The prostitutes have sort of sly, mocking glances while Pippa’s face is passive.  Lucinda Hawksley describes their body language well in Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel:

    “Pippa holds herself awkwardly, her spine and head held proudly erect with her right arm brought in close to her body as though protecting herself; the “loose women” are more fluid in their movements, at ease with their bodies and openly curious about her.”
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« Reply #25 on: October 14, 2009, 11:35:39 pm »

I think that Lizzie’s illustration of Pippa Passes demonstrates that at this time (1854), her work was progressing and improving.  I can see so much potential for what Lizzie’s body of work could have become had the circumstances of her life been different.   And then we fall into playing the “what if” or the “if only” game, as we do with so many other famous talents struck down before fully making their mark.  I don’t want to play that game.  Instead, I choose to use it as an inspiration – a method to inspire me to remember that I have this day and these circumstances which far more talented women in the centuries before me could never have enjoyed.

http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/
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« Reply #26 on: October 14, 2009, 11:40:01 pm »

Evelyn De Morgan

Posted on 8 August 2009 | 1 response




Hero holding the beacon for Leander
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« Reply #27 on: October 14, 2009, 11:40:34 pm »

Evelyn De Morgan’s work appeals to me, as I seem to be drawn to art of a mythological nature. Apart from the subject matter, I enjoy her use of color and drapery. Her work is wholly her own, but looking at it you can see traces of inspiration from the works of Burne-Jones and Spencer-Stanhope. This page at The Victorian Web takes a look at De Morgan’s work and the influence of Burne-Jones.

Evelyn’s life seems fascinating to me. Her mother was the sister of the artist John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope, who became an artistic mentor to Evelyn. She spent a great deal of time with him in Italy, a beautiful country that no doubt appealed to her young, artistic eye. The biography that accompanies the Evelyn De Morgan Gallery at Artmagick.com is particularly good. The De Morgan Centre (http://www.demorgan.org.uk) describes Evelyn and her husband, William De Morgan as “true renaissance people” who were interested in spiritualism, the Suffragette movement, and prison reform. The couple were both pacifists, and I was happy to stumble upon this webpage that highlights her anti-war paintings.

A favorite De Morgan painting of mine is Deianira, the second wife of Hercules and the subject of the play Trachiniae by Sophocles.

http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/
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« Reply #28 on: October 14, 2009, 11:41:56 pm »



Deianira

To come full circle with the Pre-Raphaelite theme, here is a beautiful portrait Evelyn De Morgan did of Jane Morris:
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Dawn Moline
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« Reply #29 on: October 14, 2009, 11:42:35 pm »



It is an interesting concept:  a female artist whose work was influenced by Pre-Raphaelitism drawing an older Jane Morris, whose features have become almost synonymous with the word Pre-Raphaelite.

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