Friday, October 26, 2012

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - Alexa ...

signed with monogram and dated c.l.: 1870
black, red and white chalk over pencil on grey paper
49 by 42cm., 19¼ by 16½in.

The professional model Alice (or Alexa) Wilding began to pose for Rossetti in 1865 when he 'discovered' her walking along the Strand and asked her to pose for the studies for a projected picture of Aspecta Medusa. By 1870, when this drawing was executed, she had already made her most striking appearances in his art, in Regina Cordium (Glasgow Art Gallery) and Monna Vanna of 1866 (Tate). Sibylla Palmifera completed in 1870 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight). Hers was the face that dominated his art of the 1870s (with that of Mrs Jane Morris). This drawing was made for the figure of the attendant on the left holding a shroud over Beatrice's beir in Rossetti's largest painting Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) commissioned in 1869 by the Liberal M.P. for Glasgow William Graham. Another study of Alexa for this painting is also dated 1870 (Fogg Art Museum, Harvard)

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