the Little governess

Posted by admin on December 27, 2017 in Articles

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Lady Lilith and Sybilla Palmifera. Analysis of two different concepts of female beauty in Rossetti’s poetry and paintings. Dante Gabriel Rossetti is considered to be one of the most influenced artists of the Pre- Raphaelites Brotherhood. Woman as the subject and inspiration was the most important theme in Rossetti’s art and determinate most of his visual and literal work. As Casteras states, Rossetti, especially in his mature style introduced his own ideal of beauty where he “put a strong emphasis on physicality as well as sensuous spirituality” (30). From his paintings emerged a peculiar ideal of woman which was completely different from established Victorian conventions which praised doll-like prettiness and harmony of style. Despite this incompatibility with Victorian principles of women’s appearance, Rossetti succeed in creating an unusual and clearly recognizable style of beauty described by Villar as ‘Rossettian female” (92) . As he indicates, these kind of female beauty was assessed mainly by physical features such as fully lips, wavy hair, long neck or sleepy eyes (92).
Throughout his career there was a visible tension between two concepts of beauty – spiritual and physical. Many of his paintings and poems depict female either as seductive femme fatale or spiritual fair lady. These two concepts portrayed opposed images of womanhood and shaped the ideal femininity. The dichotomy between these forces- physical and spiritual, body and soul was pervasive theme in a great deal of Rossetti’s works, although Rossetti, especially in his late works showed an integrative tendency between these two notions. The reason for that constant tension between spiritual muse and desirable female is Rossetti’s perception of ideal beauty. According to Villar, Rossetti regarded beauty as ‘elusive reality to which he had access only under the form of a multitude of visions mediated by a female intercessor’( 96). As a result , the…