D. G. Rossetti: A Self-Charicature

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1849

Scholarly Commentary


This is the charicature sketch described by F. G. Stephens in his study of DGR's pictorial work (see Stephens, 29n.): “Rossetti had so much humour that he cared little who, if good-naturedly, caricatured him, and he often sketched himself in odd circumstances and conditions. One of these sketches, made in 1849, lies before me now, and is ludicrously like in all its exaggerations of a huge head clothed by masses of dark, unkempt, curling hair, and inclosing gaunt features, a short beard and moustache, large, hollow and “detached”-looking eyes; the head is set upon sloping shoulders rounded by a slight habitual stoop, and carried forward in an eager sort of way, which is true to the life; the chest is narrow, the hips are wide. The artist's attire is the above-mentioned long-tailed dress coat, a loose dress waistcoat, and loose trousers. The sketch attests Rossetti's manner of gripping with his half-clenched fingers the cuff of his coat—a spasmodic habit which was highly characteristic of his nervous, self-concentrated temperament. Much the best description of Rossetti at this period is Mr. Holman Hunt's account of himself and ‘The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood’, printed in the Contemporary Review, vol. xlix., p. 737; the best portrait of him, apart from the already-mentioned and somewhat exaggerated head of Rienzi, is that of the guest, who in Millais' Lorenzo and Isabella is drinking from a wine-glass; here the pallor of the sitter's face is overdone, but the likeness is otherwise perfect. Mr. W. M. Rossetti sat for Lorenzo in this picture.”

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: sa189.raw.xml