'The Blessed Damozel', Dante Gabriel Rossetti
- Oil on canvas.
- Main picture 111 cm x 82.7 cm (43 3/4" x 32 1/2") predella picture 36.5 cm x 82.8 cm (14 3/8" x 32 5/8") 1875-79
- Signed D G Rossetti.
- Lady Lever Art Gallery
This painting is based upon Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem 'The Blessed Damozel', which he wrote when he was nineteen and published in the short-lived Pre-Raphaelite journal, 'The Germ'. In 1870, Rossetti's collected poems were re-published and excited a great deal of critical attention. In 1871, William Graham, a major patron of Rossetti, commissioned the version of this painting that is now in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard.
Another of Rossetti's few patrons, the Liverpool shipowner FR Leyland, bought this, the second version. The picture is split into two sections with a principal canvas on top and a narrow predella canvas beneath - rather in the manner of Italian 14th -and 15th - century altarpieces. The upper part depicts Heaven from which the Damozel, leaning over a golden bar and surrounded by angels, melancholically looks down towards her earthbound lover who is reclining in the lower predella. Rossetti's poem is a long reflective musing by the woman on her condition in Heaven, interspersed with mystic-erotic reveries about her future reuniting with her young man.