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.
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