Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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    Gabriel Charles Rossetti

    Early life

    Gabriel Charles Rossetti was born in May 1828 to an Italian family in London. His father, Gabriel Pasquale Rossetti, was a scholar and an Italian professor at King's College. He was also a poet who, exiled from Italy for his Nationalism. Charles's mother was an English-Italian, French, and a private teacher. Charlie's parents were from a rich literacy background reflected in their four children and their lifestyle. From an early age, Charles was surrounded by the art and literature of medieval Italy. Even as a boy, he was able to compose plays and poetry and produced drawings. He developed his skills with the help of home education and schooling at King's College. He loved Shakespearean tragedies, Bible passages, and the poetry of Byron. As a teenager, he was confused about choosing between the professions- a poet or a painter; at some point, he thought his true passion was writing poetry.

    Education and early work

    Charles studied at Henry Sass drawing academy and three years at the antique school of the royal academy. By 1848, at the age20 years, he had enough knowledge and practical training on art. To Charles, the art of the academy felt full of sentiment, moralistic, and fussy. The work of Ford Madox rather refreshed Charles due to his graphic style, detail, and unique ability to use color. This style inspired Charles, so he asked Ford to teach him. After that, he became a close friend of Ford for the rest of his life.

    In the mid-1840s, Charles attended an exhibition by William Hunt. The painting was an illustration of Keats's poems, as he admired Keats and his poems greatly. He asked Hunt to share his artistic ideals too, and both shared lodgings in Fitzrovia. There he met John Millais, one of Hunt's classmates at the royal academy. The three of them became close and formed Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The main goals of Brotherhood were to have genuine ideas, study nature, and produce good pictures and statues.

    After some time, the Brotherhood recruited four more members and published writings and poetry, and the Brotherhood created a magazine- The Germ. Apart from the seven members of the Brotherhood, there were many people involved in this publication. In the early 1850s, Brotherhood drifted apart, and Charles took his work in another direction.

     Mature period

    Charles separated from detailed religious scenes and invested his time in female beauty, which he explored through portraits. Mythological portraits were most of his life's work. In 1850 Charles met Siddal, who was an aspiring artist. She was 19 years old and working as a milliner's assistant. Soon she became Charles' model, lover, student, and muse. Some of the best paintings and poetry of Charles were dedicated to Siddal. They married in 1860, but their relationship wasn't good due to Charles' philandering and Siddal's addiction to laudanum. In 1862 Siddal was heartbroken by Charles' affair and suffered a miscarriage, after which she started overdosing laudanum and died. Due to guilt and grief, Charles buried his half-finished poetry with his wife. While married to Siddal, Charles was involved in sexual relationships with his model, Fanny Cornforth, and the two remained close until death.

    Late period and death

    Charles moved into a Tudor house In Cheyne Walk, Chelsea. He was accompanied by Fanny, who lived nearby and became his housekeeper. Charles surrounded himself with furniture. During the 1860s, he continued to make portraits. He painted Fanny and discovered a new model Alexa Wilding. He produced more works of Alexa than any other models of his time. Charles got addicted to whiskey and chloral hydrate and damaged his liver leading to paralysis of his legs. He died in 1882 at the age of 53.


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