Sunday, September 12, 2010
Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Belcolore
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 187,200 USD
diameter 15 1/2 in.
signed with monogram and dated 1868 (center right)
mixed media on paper laid down on panel
Virginia Surtees, Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828-1882: The Paintings and Drawings, A Catalogue Raisonné, London, Oxford UP, 1971, p. 90, no. 160R.1
Maria Teresa Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Florence, Sansoni, 1984, p. 272, no. 308, illustrated
Rossetti painted the first Belcolore in 1863 on panel and completed this second and only version in 1868. The painting depicts the literary figure Monna Belcolore, a village woman of legendary beauty described in Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron (circa 1348-1353). Boccaccio's late-medieval, elaborate stories provided the quintessential source for Pre-Raphaelite artists in search of opulent histories with romantic subjects untouched by the Renaissance painters.
In this composition, Rossetti depicts a female model wearing a delicate strand of pearls and holding a pink rose in her left hand. Her neck, with its characteristically Aesthetic movement elongated line, arches into a face filled with a dreamy, ambiguous longing. Brancaccio's account does not allow for the details of Monna Belcolore's identity, and Rossetti leaves the viewer wanting to know more, for whom does the rose sensuously touch her lips?