Home Page

Contents


Next Page>>

<<Prev Page

Jump to Page:

Search for
Physical Copies:

Amazon.com

Alibris.com

Abebooks.com

Bibilo.com

Tip Jar:

 

that this impatience had left his ideas pathetically at the mercy of his materials. Apart from the quality in colour to which he attained, one is conscious always in his paintings of the tragedy of genius striving for expression through an ineffectual technique. Rossetti's individuality, however, was so strong that it stamped itself every­where ; in spite of every limitation his art explains his attitude towards life. In his ability to make it show this his greatness lies, and in the fact that the point of view that it suggested was his alone. His art created for itself its own atmosphere—an unfamiliar one at first to Englishmen, with its subserviency of everything to a romantic emotionalism. The histories of the world for Rossetti were its stories of emotion, and in every place that his memory knew Love's image had been set to reign, Love who had wandered down through the ages decked with the flowers of art, offerings of bygone lovers, dead lovers to never dying Love. As a strange spirit Rossetti entered modern London. A heart rich from many forgotten experiences seemed to have lodged itself in him and he painted with eyes filled with the colours of old things. For him the tapestries could never fade in a room that had known love's history, nor the colours leave the missal which told the story of a soul.


How far his drawings were intended to foreshadow large paint­ings which he desired to make as windows for us to look with him into his romantic country we cannot say. As it is they show that it was in Rossetti's power to be the greatest imaginative illustrator of his century ; that he was not so seems to prove that in this way, as in some others, he failed to attain to much that at first had seemed included in his destiny. In his paintings, in his poetry, in these drawings something there is that was new, and that brought a fresh phase into art and literature in England. It is something which has influenced permanently the nation's thought and has been even ad­mitted into the procession of its fashions. For a time women tried to look as the women in his paintings, so much had the type he chose, which was his own creation, imposed itself upon their imagination.


The Rossetti woman, if she did not supersede the early Victorian type, at least helped to change it, and to mark a change which was taking place in the ideals of the nation. Fresh tendencies in national thought are always correspondingly represented by a change in the type of women idealised in its art and poetry. When the Victorian type went, the time had passed when homage was given to women for a surrender of their claims on life. The new type spoke of the ardent way in which another generation of women was creating for itself wide interests in the world.

 


amazon.com Save up to 75% on art & craft supplies amazon.com

Page 8