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Posts Tagged ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti’

Yesterday’s post (now with English translation!) looked at the surroundings in which a feast is set, in a medieval setting. Today, I move considerably closer in time and in space to home.
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I have seen headlines for a lot of articles today about Elizabeth Siddall/Siddal, also known as Lizzie, Victorian artist and poet, who died much too young; I’m planning to Spotify said articles tomorrow, and will post the link here. Every one of these pieces is testament to Elizabeth not having been forgotten in the 186 years since she was born. She is one of my favourite artists, and it’s tragic that her adult life was so marked by illness and heartbreak, by addiction and depression, affecting her strength and ability to get the renown as an artist that her work deserved. You can read more about her life here. (more…)

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My Christmas tree (2013)

My Christmas tree (2013)

Because I started putting up the Christmas decorations at the family seat today, my eyes and my imagination are full of the many-coloured fairy lights shining on gingerbread men and women, angels, simple round baubles in many jewel-like colours, stained-glass Santas, and bells. I took the photo above last year; it’s the Christmas tree in my last flat, and my favourite decoration of all that you see is the sparkling pomegranate, bought in homage to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting Proserpine. But as I’ve been pulling decorations, some older than me, from boxes, I’ve been thinking of one of the most striking lines that I have heard in any Christmas song.

Eyes full of tinsel and fire

It’s the excitement of Christmas, the beauty of the lights, and the lights’ transfiguration of simple baubles, tinsel, beads, fabric, and ribbon. It’s the smell of cinnamon and spices, in mulled wine and in cakes. It’s the mystery of creeping downstairs in the dark to see if Santa has been. It’s looking out of the window in the middle of the night to watch the snow falling. It’s such an evocative image of light that I had to include it in this series of blog posts. The line comes from Greg Lake’s song I believe in Father Christmas (1974), released in 1974. You can listen to the song by clicking on its title, and find out more about it here.

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La Belle Iseult (1858) by William Morris (1834-1896).  Oil on canvas. Tate Britain.

La Belle Iseult (1858) by William Morris (1834-1896). Oil on canvas. Tate Britain.

I’ve always been impressed by the (first and second wave) Pre-Raphaelites’ many talents. They were not just artists, and as a lifelong student of languages (medieval languages in particular), William Morris’ work in translating Old French and Old Norse romances and epics, is of particular interest. When I first began researching the use of original medieval works by the Pre-Raphaelites, I was focusing more on such use in their art. Morris’ only painting, of Janey Morris as La Belle Iseult, is an obvious example (look to the left). (more…)

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Given this post is more an announcement of future regular posts resuming, as opposed to an actual post in itself, I thought I’d post some of my favourite pictures of medieval angels – on the basis that they act as heralds, and so tie into the theme of announcing. (more…)

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Roman de la Rose

The garden in the Roman de la Rose of Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun is one of my favourite such spaces in all of medieval literature. The text to your left (in Old French, should you be that way inclined) gives a rich description of said garden, filled with apple trees, almond trees, fountains, flowers of all colours and perfumes. It’s a place where the normal rules don’t apply. Anything can happen in such a garden. (more…)

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La Belle Iseult, by William Morris (1858, oil on canvas, Tate Britain ; image via BBC Your Paintings)

I began the Victorian Vendredi series last week with a teaser for this week’s post. That teaser was the painting you see now to the right William Morris’s only completed painting, the model being Jane Burden, who later became his wife. On the reverse of the canvas, he wrote to her

I cannot paint you, but I love you

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