Veronica Veronese c1872 by Italian-British Painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 – 1882); poet, illustrator, translator and co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
This is a companion painting to Lady Lilith that features one of Rossetti’s favorite model Alexa Wilding as Veronica Veronese that was sold to the shipping magnate Frederick Richards Leyland.
According to Wikipedia, the painting is suppose to represent t”the artistic soul in the act of creation”. This theme is expounded by the fictitious quote inscribed on the frame of the painting. Though the quote is attributed on the frame to “The Letters of Girolamo Ridolfi,” critics believe that Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837 – 1909) or Rossetti actually wrote it.
Suddenly leaning forward, the Lady Veronica rapidly wrote the first notes on the virgin page. Then she took the bow of her violin to make her dream reality; but before commencing to play the instrument hanging from her hand, she remained quiet a few moments, listening to the inspiring bird, while her left hand strayed over the strings searching for the supreme melody, still elusive. It was the marriage of the voices of nature and the soul – the dawn of a mystic creation.
Translation from the French by Rowland Elzea.
The symbolism in the painting includes the un-caged bird, which may represent “the marriage of the voices of nature and the soul” and overt flower symbolism. The camomile in the bird cage may represent “energy in adversity”, the primroses youth, and the daffodils reflection.
Jane Morris (1839 – 1914) lent the green dress in the picture. The violin was part of Rossetti’s collection of musical instruments, and the fan also appeared in Monna Vanna. The few bars of musical composition on the manuscript may have been borrowed from George Boyce (1826 – 1897).
This is a remastered digital art old masters reproduction of a public domain image that is available as a canvas print online.
Info below derived from Wikipedia.org https://wikipedia.org
Dante was born Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti and was the son of émigré Italian scholar Gabriele Pasquale Giuseppe Rossetti and Frances Mary Lavinia Polidori.
Dante had three siblings who were poet Christina Rossetti, critic William Michael Rossetti, and author Maria Francesca Rossetti.
As a child Dante was home schooled and when he became old enough he then attended King’s College School near the Strand in London.
Though during his college years he aspired to be a poet; he also wanted to be a painter, demonstrating great interest in Medieval Italian Art.
From 1841 to 1845 he studied at the Henry Sass Drawing Academy; he was also enrolled in the Antique School of the Royal Academy until 1848.
After leaving the Royal Academy he studied under British Painter Ford Madox Brown (1821 – 1893).
Some tie later he would meet William Holman Hunt (1827 – 1910), after his exhibition of the painting The Eve of St.Agnes, which illustrated a poem by British Poet John Keats (1795 – 1821).
Much the same as Rossetti’s painting The Blessed Damozel was an imitation of Keats; believing that Hunt might share some of his artistic and literary ideals.
Together Rossetti and Hunt would develop the philosophy of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood which they founded along with John Everett Millais.