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Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel RossettiAKA Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti

Born: 12-May-1828
Birthplace: London, England
Died: 9-Apr-1882
Location of death: Birchington-on-Sea, England
Cause of death: Kidney failure
Remains: Buried, All Saints Churchyard, Birchington, Kent, England

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Painter, Poet

Nationality: England
Executive summary: English pre-Raphaelite painter

Rossetti was of Italian descent, raised by a Dante scholar who had been friends with Lord Byron. He never visited Italy, but was fascinated by it, and used Italian themes in his artwork. Early on, he translated books of Italian poetry.

With William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais he started the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, which was seen by critics as pretentious.

Rossetti studied at Royal Academy Schools and under Ford Madox Brown. He was a friend of John Ruskin and Kate Greenaway. William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones were very influenced by Rossetti.

His paintings were usually based on Italian history or Arthurian subjects, often Dante and Beatrix. His most famous paintings include Beata Beatrix, The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, How They Met Themselves, La Ghirlandata, Dante's Dream, and Proserpine and The Day Dream.

Rossetti's favorite model was Elizabeth Siddal, who he married in 1860. She died of a laudanum overdose in 1862, after the birth of their stillborn daughter. In his grief, he buried a volume of his poetry with her; years later regretting it and enlisting the help of friends to stealthily exhume the coffin and recover the volume.

He then used Jane Morris, wife of William Morris as his model, and had an affair with her. Another model, who became his mistress, was Fanny Cornforth. He lived and worked with poet Algernon Charles Swinburne in Chelsea for years. Rossetti developed an addiction to the drug ether. A critic's attack, in an article called "The Fleshly School of Poetry" was very disturbing to him. He replied to the article with his own entitled "The Stealthy School of Criticism," which only elevated the argument. He became paranoid and depressed, attempting suicide in Scotland in 1872, but recovered.

Besides being a painter, he was a poet and writer as well. Some of his best-known poems include The Blessed Damozel and My Sister's Sleep.

Father: Gabriele Rossetti (professor of Italian)
Mother: Frances Mary Lavinia Polidori (sister of Dr. John Polidori)
Sister: Christina Rossetti (poet)
Sister: Maria Rossetti
Brother: William Michael (art critic)
Wife: Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (m. 1860, d. 1862)
Daughter: (b. 2-May-1861, stillborn)

    Garrick Club
    Suicide Attempt 8-Jun-1872
    Stroke Dec-1881
    Italian Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Insomnia, Depression


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