Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Art & Poetry: Gabriel Dante Rossetti

I just spent an hour looking through 5 bookcases and hundreds of books looking for for my old collection of Rossetti's poems, a copy that I had taken from my parents collection of old and rare books years ago, but to no avail. It must be somewhere, but I absolutely hate when this happens! I was looking for one poem that referred to the moon, but I couldn't remember the exact title... In any case it must be around somewhere, and I will find it when I decide to take all of the books out, dust them and fit them back in the bookcases again, like a jigsaw puzzle. It got me thinking about how Rossetti has always been my favourite artist, because even though I love his poetry, I love his paintings even more. One of the main founders of the Pre-Raphaelite movement in the 19th century, many of his paintings depict beautiful portraits of women, with medieval and Italian Renaissance influences. The attention to detail n all his work is tremendous, and if you look closely at the faces of the women you can see that they all resemble each other, even if the hair colour or dress is different. I suppose this is because his artwork was intrinsically close to his real life relationships with his models and muses and he tended to reproduce their faces in his different paintings.

I used to have a whole collection of postcard reproductions of his work all over my bedroom walls years ago (amidst the Nirvana, Cure and Bauhaus posters), but I've lost most of them during my many moves. During my brief stay in London 7 years ago I got to see a good collection of his work at the Tate Britain (for free - only the temporary exhibitions have a fee to view) which was great. In an alternate universe where I was a millionaire and collected art, Rossettis would be what I would want to cover my house in. Or at least, own one of. Beauty, sadness, depth and other-worldy...
When I write I don't see words in my minds, but images, and I try to convey those images in words. When I take photographs I always think of words, strings of sentences, that go with the photo and convey the feelings and emotions that go through me when I capture exactly the image that I see in my mind. I think that's what I love the most about Rossetti - each piece of artwork is closely intertwined with a poem or a piece of writing. It's as if one cannot go without the other, which in my mind is an utterly true statement.


I've been feeling very whimsical all week... Maybe it's the weather...

Here is the poem I was looking for earlier:

A Match With The Moon
WEARY already, weary miles to-night
I walked for bed: and so, to get some ease,
I dogged the flying moon with similes.
And like a wisp she doubled on my sight
In ponds; and caught in tree-tops like a kite;
And in a globe of film all liquorish
Swam full-faced like a silly silver fish;—
Last like a bubble shot the welkin's height
Where my road turned, and got behind me, and sent
My wizened shadow craning round at me,


And jeered, “So, step the measure,—one two three!”
And if I faced on her, looked innocent.
But just at parting, halfway down a dell,
She kissed me for good-night. So you'll not tell.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti
 
Tate Britain: Website Here
Online Rossetti Archive: HERE

2 comments:

Alison Toon said...

i decorated our tiny sitting room in Manton with postcards of Rossetti's paintings when you were three years or so old... and I wondered where that book had gone! x x x

Paradox said...

I think that's where I got my love of him from - you! Like so many other things ;)