English 10 Spectrum
January 9th, 2006
Lethal Beauty or Poisonous Rose
The works of art by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an artist during the 19th century, are famous throughout Europe and the world. With other like-minded artists such as John Everett Millais, Rossetti founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of English painters, poets and critics. Their goal was to reject the mechanistic approach of art set by Michelangelo and return to the classical Italian art style of intense colors and abundant details. As an artist, he often wrote poetry based on paintings, including his own works, creating many fabulous Ekphrasis pieces. Rossetti painted A Sea-Spell in 1877, and quite peculiarly, the poem was written in 1870, seven years earlier. In both the poem and painting “A Sea-Spell”, Rossetti utilizes root word connections and symbols to present the idea of the femme fatale. Many of Rossetti’s works have a theme of an enchantress, such as “The Orchard Pit”, and “A Sea-Spell” is no exception. Rossetti often adds the idea of the femme fatale very skillfully into his poems and paintings that are very interesting when found.
During the time of the Pre-Raphaelites, religion was a dominating factor in household society. Many rulers and kings would commission famous artists, such as Rossetti, to depict their family alongside powerful characters in the Holy Bible. While painting these magnificent works of art, the artists will often insert symbolism to demonstrate their own ideas and values. Rossetti generally includes many symbols into his works as he does in A Sea-Spell. In the background, he paints an apple hanging on a vine. Traditional Christianity generally views the apple as fruit from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, God’s first human creations, were told never to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Unheeding this warning, Eve was tempted to eat the apple by Satan and in turn convinced Adam to try the apple...