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Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a painter, poet, and pioneering member of the Pre-Raphaelite circle of painters working in England during the mid-19th century. Rossetti was born in England in 1828; his father was an Italian political exile and Dante scholar who taught Italian at Kings College in London. From an early age, Rossetti identified with his famous namesake and in 1849 translated Dante’s autobiographical Vita Nuova into English. Despite his literary gifts, in 1845 the young Rossetti enrolled in the Antique School of the Royal Academy to study painting. However, he was an indifferent scholar and soon left the Academy to study independently with his friend and fellow artist Ford Maddox Brown. In 1848, Rossetti joined William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais to form a secret society of artists called the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, or PRB. This artistic fraternity was essentially a revivalist rebellion against the Royal Academy’s use of Italian Renaissance masters as models for artistic emulation. The Pre-Raphaelites drew their inspiration from an earlier generation, the 15th-century Italian “primitive” artists such as Sandro Botticelli and Piero della Francesca, whose works were characterized by flat perspective, clear tonalities, and a preference for profile views. The PRB’s aesthetic creed was not new; the Neo-Gothic revival was begun in the early 19th century by a group of German artists called the Nazarenes, who championed a medieval style of painting derived from Northern Renaissance panel painting.
Duffy-Zeballos L. Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s La Donna della Finestra. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2005;7(4):280. doi:10.1001/archfaci.7.4.280