'Taurello's first sight of fortune', Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Brown ink on paper, drawn about 1850-52, 22.9 x 27.9cm, Tate. Bequeathed by HF Stephens 1932
The subject of the drawing is from Browning's poem 'Sordello', set during the wars of the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. Taurello, left, when newly arrived at court, was asked in jest by the King to rule instead of him. The King invested him with the silk glove of his wife, who is seen taking off her glove.
The details of medieval costume and townscape show Rossetti's admiration of the Flemish artists Van Eyck and Memling.
The angular gestures, unsettling facial expressions and abrupt perspective are characteristics of the early phase of the Pre-Raphaelite style. These qualities emulated the 'primitive' qualities of early Italian and Flemish art.