Pre-Raphaelite Women, Art, & Poetry, Part A

Pre-Raphaelite Women:

D.G. Rossetti & the Male Gaze


"One face looks out from all his canvases....
He feeds upon her face by day and night."

--'In an Artist's Studio' (poem) by C. Rossetti

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* D. G. Rossetti's Life and Themes


by D.G. Rossetti

Biographies, Backgrounds, Overviews:

Ecce Ancilla Domini

Beata Beatrix
Lizzie Siddal

Astarte Syriaca
Jane Morris

Literary/Artistic Representations of Women & "The Gaze"

The Masculine Gaze: Related Theoretical Studies

* The Blessed Damozel: Poem/Painting

Blessed Damozel by D.G. Rossetti
View details: predella & "heaven."

The Blessed Damozel

The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.

Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
No wrought flowers did adorn,
But a white rose of Mary's gift,
For a service meetly worn;
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.

The Blessed Damozel --the complete text of the poem; here is another copy.

A Study Guide--background and study questions.

The Spiritual Depths of the Feminine Soul in Rossetti's 'The Blessed Damozel' and Parallel Imagery in 'The Blessed Damozel' --two short Victorian Web essays.

Pre-Raphaelite Women: Questions--outline study questions about Rossetti's image of women in the poem "Blessed Damozel" and in his paintings (many examples).

Who Is the Blessed Damozel? --good background and analysis.

* More Doubled Paintings/Poems

A Sea-Spell by D. G. Rossetti

The Sea-Spell

Her lute hangs shadowed in the apple-tree,
While flashing fingers weave the sweet-strung spell
Between its chords; and as the wild notes swell,
The sea-bird for those branches leaves the sea.
But to what sound her listening ear stoops she?
What netherworld gulf-whispers doth she hear,
In answering echoes from what planisphere,
Along the wind, along the estuary?

She sinks into her spell: and when full soon
Her lips move and she soars into her song,
What creatures of the midmost main shall throng
In furrowed surf-clouds to the summoning rune:
Till he, the fated mariner, hears her cry,
And up her rock, bare-breasted, comes to die?

Lady Lilith (or Body's Beauty)
by D.G. Rossetti
(Copy of Rossetti's "Lilith"
poem available at this link.)

Lilith: Poem & Painting

Proserpine (Persephone): Poem & Painting

Astarte Syriaca: Poem & Painting

Prostitutes and Fallen Women: Poems & Paintings

Found by D.G. Rossetti.


"There is a budding morrow in midnight:"--
So sang our Keats, our English nightingale.
And here, as lamps across the bridge turn pale
In London's smokeless resurrection-light,
Dark breaks to dawn. But o'er the deadly blight
Of Love deflowered and sorrow of none avail,
Which makes this man gasp and this woman quail,
Can day from darkness ever again take flight?

Ah! gave not these two hearts their mutual pledge,
Under one mantle sheltered 'neath the hedge
In gloaming courtship? And, O God! to-day
He only knows he holds her; - but what part
Can life now take? She cries in her locked heart,--
"Leave me -- I do not know you -- go away!"

* Other Poems/Paintings/Criticism

Rossetti Poems--e-texts.

Rossetti paintings at the Tate Gallery--over 100 images.

The Sonnet (A Sonnet is a Moment's Monument)--poem/picture to his mother. This article is an excellent example of close-reading, as well as providing some insight into Rossetti's views on poetry.

The Germ, Issue #1: Thoughts Toward Nature in Poetry, Literature, and Art --Issue 1 of the famous Pre-Raphaelite journal. See also: The Germ, Issue #2 and The Germ, Issue #3 and The Germ, Issue #4.

Go to Pre-Raphaelite Poet: Christina Rossetti

Return to Index: Pre-Raphaelite Women, Art, & Poetry

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Related Resources

PR Women, Art, Poetry: Index

Christina Rossetti, PR Poet

PR Models, Lovers, Art-Sisters

PR Art-Sisters Gallery

PR Brotherhood Gallery

PR Literature & Art: Resources

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Painting, top center: La Ghirlandata by D. G. Rossetti

Painting, left margin: Proserpine by D. G. Rossetti

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