The artist and poet Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (founded in 1848 by Rossetti, Millais and Holman Hunt). Rossetti was the son of an exiled Italian patriot and was an authority on the Medieval poet Dante. Rossetti entered the Royal Academy of Arts at a very young age, in 1845, but soon became disappointed with traditional teaching of the Academy and sought a non-conventional way of expressing his talent and creative ideas. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood artists opposed the over stylisation and attention to technical perfection of Victorian art and instead proposed a spiritual and moral purpose for art.
Rossetti's works were widely criticised at the Free Society of Artists' exhibition in 1850. These attacks are believed to have led him to retreat from the public domain thereafter. Rossetti met William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones in 1856 when they collaborated on the Arthurian legends decorations of the Oxford Union. After the establishment of Morris's firm, 'Fine Art Workmen' in 1861, Rossetti provided designs for stained glass and furniture decoration. Among Rossetti's enthusiastic patrons were George Rae, the Birkenhead stockbroker, and the famous ship-owner Frederick Leyland.
In 2003, the Walker Art Gallery staged a major Rossetti exhibition featuring over 150 items, the online exhibition feature includes a chronology of his life, images of many of his works and information on conservation issues.
The following Rossetti paintings from our collections are available to view online:
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