Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.
Rossetti’s art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism. His early poetry was influenced by John Keats. His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence The House of Life. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti’s work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) to Astarte Syriaca (1877), one of his last completed works.
Rossetti’s personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Morris.
Image: Albumen print of Dante Gabriel Rossetti by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), 1863