Dante Gabriel Rossetti; a translator, illustrator, poet and most importantly for this post, an incredible artist. As one of the founding fathers of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he inspired and influenced an entire generation of artists and writers both contemporaries and successive to himself. Dante was born on the 12th May 1828 and he died on the 9th April 1882, leaving behind a wealth of work and a strong legacy that would live on long beyond his own lifetime.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti spent a lot of time working on English translations of Italian poetry and found himself strongly influenced by the famous Italian poet, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) with whom he strongly identified. It was Rossetti’s identification to Dante Alighieri that inspired the painting which is the subject of this post.
With that said we’re going to be looking at one piece of work in particular; a painting full of meaning and symbolism, painted in Rossetti’s signature style and telling a powerful story rife with emotion and feeling.
Despite my indecisiveness about whether or not to continue with a written counterpart for my Ruins Project, I have decided to write a brief post looking at some of the artwork created by the Master artist, Claude Lorrain.
Claude is without any doubt, one of the greatest painters of the landscape that has ever lived; although in 17th century Italy landscape painting was not a subject deemed classical enough to be classed as a true work of art and with that in mind, Claude painted figures and narratives into his beautiful scenery; usually mythical or religious figures that would feed the hunger both of patrons and the public. However, it is clearly evident from his sketchbooks and the quality of the scenery in his finished works that his focus was mainly centred around the landscape.
One good way to describe Claude Lorrain is as the painter of the idealised landscape providing the setting for classical subject narratives. The creator of mythical and religious scenes that the viewer can engage with as though present in the story, a Baroque equivalent of the cinema.
I have handpicked my favourite artworks by Claude Lorrain that are relevant to the theme of Ruins and in no particular order, here they are:
This week’s Tolkien artist insight is about the illustrative artwork of none other than JRR Tolkien himself; I’ve previously looked at the work of other recognised illustrators of Tolkien’s legendarium and whilst debating who to look at this week it occured to me, I haven’t yet delved into the illustrations of the man who created the richest fantasy world in the history of literature.
This 9 book series written by Jack Whyte, a Scottish-Canadian author was brought to my attention when I stumbled across the first two books of the series in ‘The Works’ and bought them. In the UK the series is titled “The Legends of Camelot” and having a keen interest in the Arthurian legend, I decided to give them a shot. The UK published versions of this series have also have different titles to the originals, to save confusion I’m going to list the books by their original titles as decided by the author himself.
I tore through the first two books within a week and I was straight online ordering the rest of the series, totally hooked and hungry for more.
In my opinion, and I have read and watched a vast amount of re-tellings of the Arthurian legend, this is the most realistic, believable and gripping version I have ever come across. Jack Whyte tells the story and places it in a believable time setting and structure, Camelot being formed just as the Roman legions are leaving Britain, starting off as a few villas and some farmland, built up by two Roman-British Legionaries and visionaries, Caius Brittanicus and Publius Varrus.
I would definitely recommend this series to anyone that is interested in historical fiction, Romans, Arthurian legend, Merlin and Camelot, it truly places everything perfectly and is a really enjoyable read. As I said before there are 9 books in the series and they’re not short books either, but they’re easy to make short work of with their page turning effect.
If you have already read this series of books or want some more information on them, feel free to get in touch via the comment section or email, I’m happy for a discussion.