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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Poet / Artist

Born: 12 May 1828
Died: 9 April 1882
Birthplace: London, England
Best known as:

Romantic poet and painter of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

Name at birth: Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti


Dante Gabriel Rossetti helped found the English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a school of painting (1848) that advocated a return to the Italian style before Raphael. Rossetti was also a well-known romantic poet and was famous for lyric poems such as The Blessed Damozel. A charismatic and gifted artist but a lousy student, he made his splash in the late 1840s and early 1850s, with portraits and, especially, scenes inspired by Dante. With William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones, Rossetti formed the core of the Pre-Raphaelites, but he abandoned those artistic principles by 1860 and became known for his portraits of beautiful women and luxurious detail. His muse and model for many of the paintings was Jane Burden, the wife of William Morris, with whom Rossetti had a love affair in the late 1860s, before he spiraled into depression and paranoia.

Extra credit:

Rossetti shares a name with, but is unrelated to, the poet Dante Alighieri.

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