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THE DRAWINGS OF
D. G. ROSSETTI
BY T. MARTIN WOOD


HE intensely subjective nature of Rossetti's art is what gives it fascination for its lovers ; it belonged to himself. Even in his early period and with his dramatic subjects this was so, and partly by the depth of imaginative meaning he read into the faces of women. The last phase of his art was entirely one of self-revelation ; his own moments of sorrow were mirrored in one woman's face, moments in which he created sadly, living over again in them some hours that had been happy.


This is her picture as she was :
It seems a thing to wonder on,
As though mine image in the glass
Should tarry when myself am gone.

for so
Was the still movement of her hands And such the pure line's gracious flow.


'Tis she : though of herself, alas!
Less than her shadow on the grass
Or than her image in the stream.


One might hazard the question whether it were possible for a painter such as Rossetti, seeking expression in his art for this intensity of feeling, to vie in the rendering of the external aspects with those painters who have approached life with that cold acuteness to the appearance of things and aloofness from their meaning characteristic of work that has contributed largely to the actual science of painting. To Rossetti life came over-crowded, over-coloured. There was too much for him to realise in his work­ing moments. The very richness of his nature embarrassed his output. His gifts gave him so many ways of self-expression from which to choose. The phases through which his genius passed, the result of an inherited and rare temperament and its adventures, made the science of painting prosaic for him. He himself felt latterly

 

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