Tragic Lovers

Early Death by Elizabeth Siddal Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears The life that passes fast; The gates of heaven will open wide And take me in at last. Then sit down meekly at my side And watch my young life flee; Then solemn peace of holy death Come quickly unto thee. But true…
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Summer Reading

Sometimes my reading life is haphazard and I dip into whatever strikes me fancy. (The right book, more often than not, seems to find me instead of the other way around.) Other times, I get a great deal of joy in creating an active reading plan to pursue. On Monday I posted William Michael Rossetti’s…
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Circe the Enchantress

The works of John William Waterhouse often blend feminine beauty and mystery.  Above is Circe Invidiosa, his depiction of the goddess Circe. With a sumptuous  blend of greens and blues, he created a world that draws us in and mesmerizes. It’s as if you can feel yourself transported into Circe’s world. You can hear the water…
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Embracing Dante Alighieri

“In the middle of the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wood, for the straight path was lost”  So begins Dante’s journey through Inferno (hell), Purgatorio (purgatory), and Paradiso (paradise).  His travels through these  three areas of the afterlife make up La Divina Commedia, the Divine Comedy.  I came to the…
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The Unrequited Love of Dante and Beatrice

In reality, Dante loved Beatrice from a distance and they had little to no contact with one another. The  real Beatrice Portinari probably never had any idea of the depth of his passion for her.  Yet she was to become one of literature’s most famous figures. Dante Alighieri first saw and fell in love with Beatrice…
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Shades of Dante

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Victorian poet, painter and co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, grew up in the shadow of Dante Alighieri.  Although he lived several centuries before, Medieval poet Alighieri was a permanent fixture in the Rossetti household. Rossetti’s father, Professor Gabriele Rossetti, was an Italian expatriate who came to London in 1824. He was a…
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Margaret Hannay, sugarplum of the universe

Scottish author James Hannay once described his wife Margaret as the ‘sugarplum of the universe’.   Dante Gabriel Rossetti captured the sugarplum’s beauty in the sketch above, drawn a few weeks before the couple wed. Margaret also appears as Beatrice in the original watercolor Dante’s Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (1856)….
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Jane Morris as Beatrice

Although Rossetti painted Jane Morris repeatedly, it is a bit unusual to see her painted as Beatrice.  Beatrice, Dante Alighieri’s  unrequited love,  is a character Rossetti strongly associated with Elizabeth Siddal.   There is another painting of Jane Morris as Beatrice at The Rossetti Archive titled  The Salutation of Beatrice, also known as The Lady in…
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La Pia de Tolomei

Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted La Pia de Tolomei at the beginning of his affair with Jane Morris, the wife of his friend William Morris. In this painting, Jane models as La Pia, from Dante Alighieri’s poem the Divine Comedy. La Pia is found by Dante during his travel through Purgatory, in Part II of the…
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Beata Beatrix

Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Beata Beatrix as a tribute after the death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal. DGR had always idolized Dante, the author of Vita Nuova. In Vita Nuova, Beatrice is Dante’s unrequited love. In Beata Beatrix, Rossetti painted Elizabeth Siddal as Beatrice, merging his love and Dante’s into one. Rossetti painted several versions…
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