Do you know who Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti is? I have been studying art for 37 years and never picked up that name until I came across a beautiful book at a yardsale. It was a collection of poetry he had translated and in the front was a portrait that captured my soul. I had to know who he was.
Rossetti was one of the young men that began the Brotherhood of the Pre-Raphaelites (another tidbit discovered by this book). The BPR hoped to reform English Art by rejecting what Mannerist were creating within the established schooling. The Romantic feeling of the age was to embrace abundant detail intense colours and complex compositions of the Middle Ages.
But I digress… this piece is regarding Rossetti. He was a rare man at the academy, a personality of another century that drew people around him. He dabbled in many areas of the arts: literature, poetry, and painting. His deep pursuit was the beauty in all three areas.
In “The Charm of Rossett” published in 1910 by S. L. Bensusan it is stated he was “living mentally in a world of his own creation…He was alive to everything happening in the arts.” He wanted to know all that was new and vital. Men were drawn to him because of this vibrant zest for life in the new and old.
Rossetti was a dreamer. There was never an inch given to academy rules, he did as he thought would capture beauty by never sacrificing his individuality. It was this intense pursuit that dominated him to the most successful efforts in language, line and colour.
As Artist we can take this lesson from Rossetti, always be true to your own muses. Don’t sacrifice a vision or works to pressure from anyone. Live what you create and most important is to live who you are. Make everything you pursue a deeply personal expression of yourself, your visions and striving.
Our personal lives may be full of potholes to overcome, just as his were… but our work can be the beauty we wish it to be. Find your pure light and dig for those deep hues to colour your work brighter than what the world is moving around it.
Exert from his “Chiaro dell’ Erma”
“Chiaro, Servant of Gaod, take now thine Art unto thee, and paint me thus, as I am, to know me, weak as I am…”