Lot 34
  • 34

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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Description

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  • Belcolore
  • signed with monogram and dated 1868 (center right)
  • mixed media on paper laid down on panel

Provenance

W.A. Turner (sold: Christie's, London, April 28, 1888, lot 120, entitled The Rose)

Alexander A. Jonides (sold: Christie's, London, March, 15, 1902, lot 31)

Commander Kenneth Cohen

Maas Gallery (1969)

D.W. Posnett (sold: Sotheby's, New York, June 26, 1976, lot 204, illustrated)

Exhibited

London, Maas Gallery, High Art and Homely Scene, 1969, no. 35

Literature

The Studio, vol XII, 1898, p. 103

Virginia Surtees, Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882: The Paintings and Drawings, A Catalogue Raisonné, London, Oxford UP, 1971, p. 90, no. 160R.1

Maria Teresa Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Florence, Sansoni, 1984, p. 272, no. 308, illustrated  

Catalogue Note

Rossetti painted the first Belcolore in 1863 on panel and completed this second and only version in 1868.  The painting depicts the literary figure Monna Belcolore, a village woman of legendary beauty described in Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (circa 1348-1353).  Boccaccio's late-medieval, elaborate stories provided the quintessential source for Pre-Raphaelite artists in search of opulent histories with romantic subjects untouched by the Renaissance painters.

In this composition, Rossetti depicts a female model wearing a delicate strand of pearls and holding a pink rose in her left hand.  Her neck, with its characteristically Aesthetic movement elongated line, arches into a face filled with a dreamy, ambiguous longing.  Brancaccio's account does not allow for the details of Monna Belcolore's identity, and Rossetti leaves the viewer wanting to know more, for whom does the rose sensuously touch her lips? 

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