MNEMOSYNE was Titan goddess of memory and remembrance and the inventress of language and words.

As a Titan daughter of Ouranos (Heaven), Mnemosyne was also a goddess of time. She represented the rote memorisation required, before the introduction of writing, to preserve the stories of history and sagas of myth. In this role she was represented as the mother of the Mousai (Muses), originally patron goddesses of the poets of the oral tradition.

Finally Mnemosyne was a minor oracular goddess like her sister-Titanes. She presided over the underground oracle of Trophonios in Boiotia.


Once again, we see Jane Morris as a goddess.  A goddess whose domain is memory and time.  Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Mnemosyne in the 1870s, a time when he was in love with Jane.  I believe that this may have been originally designed as Astarte Syriacabut here she is as Memory with her lamp.  Can we read this as an attempt to metaphorically preserve the memory of their relationship?  Rossetti was deeply troubled at this stage, perhaps there was a need to hang on to what he believed made him happy in an effort to block out the memories that pained him.  Or perhaps he felt he could never be free of the memories that haunted him; I find the lines he included with the frame quite telling:

Is Memory most of miseries miserable,
Or the one flower of ease in bitterest hell? (Dante Gabriel Rossetti)


Mnemosyne is part of the collection at the Delaware Art Museum.

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4 thoughts on “Mnemosyne

  1. I am a fan on Facebook and was looking around your site and checked the page on Mnemosyne. I used to work at the Delaware Art Museum. I could not get your link to their website to go through. I don’t know the correct link to give you to fix it so I copied the ip for the page and sent it to my friends at the Delaware Art Museum. I am not sure who is in charge of publicity anymore. Candice, Molly or a new person. Hopefully, you will be getting info from them to fix the link at the end of the Mnemosyne page. Love your site. I really miss being able to see the Pre-Raphs every day.

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