At Tate Britain a major retrospective on Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth Siddal Rossetti

From April 6 to September 24, 2023, Tate Britain in London presents the major retrospective The Rossettis: 150 paintings and drawings, as well as photographs, poems and more, will showcase the Pre-Raphaelite output of Dante Gabriel and Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal.

At Tate Britain in London, the exhibition The Rossettis, curated by Carol Jacobi and James Finch, will be on view from April 6 to September 24, 2023; it is organized by Tate Britain in collaboration with the Delaware Art Museum and supported by the Rossettis Exhibition Supporters Circle and Tate members.

The exhibition will present the romanticism and radicalism of the Rossetti family (Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth, showing their revolutionary approach to life, love and art. Spanning the Pre-Raphaelite years, the exhibition will display 150 paintings and drawings, as well as photographs, poems and more.

It will be the first retrospective devoted to Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Tate Britain and also the first comprehensive retrospective on Elizabeth Siddal in 30 years, featuring rare watercolors and drawings of remarkable quality. Christina and Dante Gabriel ’s poetry will be interwoven with the artworks through spoken word and illustrated editions of their work.

The Rossettis spearheaded a progressive counterculture, merging past and present to reinvent art and life for a rapidly changing modern world. The sons of an exiled Italian revolutionary, they grew up in London in a family of scholars and began their artistic careers as teenagers. The exhibition will kick off by celebrating their talents: it will open with Ecce Ancilla Domine (The Annunciation), a painting created by Dante Gabriel in 1850 for which his sister Christina and brother William Michael posed. Animmersive installation of Christina’s poetry will then be on view, as well as examples of Dante Gabriel’s adolescent drawings, reflecting his early skill and enthusiasm for original authors such as William Blake and Edgar Allan Poe.

Works from the Pre-Raphaelite years testify to how the spirit of popular revolution inspired these artists to start the first British avant-garde movement, rebelling against the Royal Academy ’s domination of artistic style and content. More personal forms of revolution will be explored through the Rossettis’ refusal to abide by the constraints of Victorian society. Works such as Dante Gabriel’s Found begun in 1854, Elizabeth Siddal’s Lady Clare of 1857 and Christina’s famous poem The Goblin Market of 1859 will show how all three questioned love in an unequal and materialistic world. Following new research, Elizabeth Siddal’s watercolors will be placed in dialogue with works by Dante Gabriel contemporary to them, exploring love in medieval settings.

The exhibition will take a fresh look at the fascinating myths surrounding the unconventional relationships between Dante Gabriel, Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. Poetic portraits from the latter part of Dante Gabriel’s career, such as Bocca Baciata of 1859, Blessed Beatrix of c. 1864-1870, and The Beloved of 1865-1873, will be presented in the context of the achievements and experiences of the women who modeled for them. The exhibition will also explore how the poetic and artistic evolution of the femme fatale influenced works such as Lady Lilith (1866-1868) and Mona Vanna (1866).

In addition to art and poetry, visitors will also experience how the Rossettis’ pioneering new lifestyles transformed domestic interiors through furniture, clothing, and design. The exhibition will end by examining how the Rossettis inspired the next generation, including William Michael’s sons who founded the anarchist magazine The Torch, and how they still continue to influence art and culture to this day.

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Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Image: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith, detail (1866 - 1868) © Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935

photographs, poems and more

At Tate Britain a major retrospective on Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth Siddal Rossetti
At Tate Britain a major retrospective on Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth Siddal Rossetti

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