Home » Exhibitions » The Rossettis at Tate Britain from 6 April to 24 September 2023

The Rossettis at Tate Britain from 6 April to 24 September 2023

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Paolo and Francesca da Rimini 1855
© Tate Purchased with assistance from Sir Arthur Du Cros Bt and Sir Otto Beit KCMG through the Art Fund 1916

In April 2023 Tate Britain will present a major exhibition charting the romance and radicalism of the Rossetti generation – Dante Gabriel, Christina and Elizabeth (neé Siddal) – showcasing their revolutionary approach to life, love and art.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Proserpine 1874 © Tate

Moving through and beyond the Pre-Raphaelite years, the exhibition will feature 150 paintings and drawings as well as photography, design, poetry and more. This will be the first retrospective of Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Tate and the largest exhibition of his iconic pictures in two decades. It will also be the first full retrospective of Elizabeth Siddal for 30 years, featuring her rare surviving watercolours and important drawings.

Christina Rossetti – Goblin Market 1865 © Tate

Christina and Dante Gabriel’s poetry will be interwoven with the artworks through spoken word and beautifully illustrated editions of their work.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Ecce Ancilla Domini (The Annunciation) 1849-50 Purchased 1886 © Tate

The Rossettis blended past and present to reinvent art and life for a fast-changing modern world. The children of an Italian revolutionary exile, they grew up in London in a scholarly family and they began their artistic careers as teenagers. The exhibition will begin with a celebration of their young talent, opening with Dante Gabriel’s Ecce Ancilla Domine (The Annunciation) 1850. This will be shown with an immersive installation of Christina’s poetry, as well as examples of Dante Gabriel’s teenage drawings, reflecting his precocious skill and his enthusiasm for original voices like William Blake and Edgar Allan Poe.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Found 1854-1855/1859-1881 © Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, 1935

Works from the Pre-Raphaelite years will demonstrate how the spirit of popular revolution inspired these artists to initiate the first British avant-garde movement, rebelling against the Royal Academy’s dominance over artistic style and content. Works such as Dante Gabriel’s Found begun 1854, Elizabeth Siddal’s Lady Clare 1857 and Christina’s famous poem The Goblin Market 1859 will show how they questioned love in an unequal and materialist world. Following new research, the surviving watercolours of Elizabeth Siddal will also be shown in a two-way dialogue with contemporary works by Dante Gabriel, exploring modern love in jewel-like medieval settings.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Bocca Baciata 1859 © Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The exhibition will take a fresh look at the fascinating myths surrounding the unconventional relationships between Dante Gabriel, Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth and Jane Morris. The poetic portraits from the later part of Dante Gabriel’s career, such as Bocca Baciata 1859, Beata Beatrix c.1864-70 and The Beloved 1865-73, will be shown in the context of the achievements and experiences of the working women who modelled for them.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Bocca Baciata 1859 © Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Alongside art and poetry, visitors will also be able to experience how the Rossettis’ lifestyles transformed the domestic interior through contemporary furniture, clothing and design. The exhibition will conclude by showing how the Rossettis inspired the following generations and how they continue to influence radical art and culture to this day.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Britain website here

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