Page:William Blake in his relation to Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1911).djvu/5

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showed himself the greater painter with his "Lorenzo and Isabella", at the same time the most typical Praeraphaelitic picture. It has the hard outline and glowing colours of the quattrocento paintings, at the same time the dreadful spiritual love of Isabella hints, though it has an awful ascetic power, at the perversity of E. A. Poe, or perhaps O. Wilde's Salome. For it was that part of the Middle Ages which the Praeraphaelites have tried to render, in which souls were very pale but filled with hot desires, in which the lust of the senses mixed with the prayers of the mystics, and in which the anticipated joys of heaven were not so great as the earthly miseries. It was a dream of the Middle Ages full of melancholy, sensuousness, and glowing colours, and as I said above, it was not Dante Gabriel Rossetti in whose works more than in those of all representatives of this school its most typical qualities were united. Although not the greatest nor the most typical of the Praeraphaelites, yet his influence has been the greatest, because he was by far the strongest personality and the greatest intellectual force. On all the persons who came in contact with him he made a great impression; some of them remained under his influence for the rest of their careers, others were only spell-bound for a short while by the brilliancy of his talk and the power of his strong mind; on all these his influence has had a lasting effect.

William M. Rossetti tells us how already as a mere boy his brother was impetuous and vehement and essentially of a dominant turn in intellect, and a leader in temperament. Ruskin says of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: "I believe Rossetti's name should be placed first on the list of men within my own range of knowledge who have raised and changed the spirit of modern art; raised in absolute attainment, changed in direction of temper." And elsewhere: "Rossetti was the chief intellectual force in the modern romantic school of England".[1] Holman Hunt mentions his power of inspiring enthusiasm and making proselytes, a power which according to H. Hunt he seems to have exercised to an inconvenient extent and to which Hunt himself was compelled to


  1. See Benson, Life of Rossetti. London 1904. Chapter VII.