Beginning with the late nineteenth century, a new “Romantic” attitude characterized culture and many works of art in Western civilization. It emphasized a revulsion against established values such as social order and religion and exalted individualism, irrationalily, imagination, emotions and nature. Two famous artists from the age of Romanticism are Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Mendelssohn and Rosetti led very different lives. Rossetti was honoured for his work in his time while Mendelssohn was suppressed. The musical piece Neue Liebe, Neues Leben, by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and the artistic composition A vision of Fiametta by Dante Rossetti are great works that are similar in terms of their poetic inspiration, but differ in terms of how characteristic they are of the Romantic era.
The Painting: A Vision of Fiametta
The painting A Vision of Fiammetta depicts a fiery haired woman wearing a flame-coloured dress. Her figure seems to glow in contrast with the dark inky background, seemingly symbolizing life and death. Fiametta is surrounded by falling red, white and golden apple blossoms, whose short-lived lives signify the transience of beauty. The red bird which hovers at her head is representative of death, and the butterflies fluttering around her form are symbolic of the soul.
The Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti is one of the most unusual yet original of Victorian artists. While other artists favoured realism, Rossetti favoured a more symbolic approach. He created powerful paintings which embodied the ideas of love, beauty, sensuality, life and death. Born in 1828 in London, England, Rossetti acquired a fondness for Italian poetry from his politically exiled father.(Marsh 2005 34) Rossetti grew to become not only a recognized artist, but also a distinguished poet. A Vision of Fiametta was inspired by a sonnet by Giovanni Boccaccio. It describes lovers separated by death, and...