Dante Gabriel Rossetti is amongst the most famous figures of the Victorian era. An eminent artist and a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, his art and life have fascinated scholars for decades. However, despite an existing acknowledgement of Rossetti’s use of symbolism, specialists have neglected to analyse its nature and its sources, as well as its content.
In The Stream’s Secret, Rodger Drew highlights a facet of the artist’s work that has hitherto gone largely unexplored. By offering a comprehensive analysis of Rossetti’s paintings and poetry, Drew shows that the artist widely employed themes and motifs drawn from the Hermetic magical system which later developed into Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry.
The author connects this symbolism to a comprehensive European tradition dating from Plato and Pythagoras, through the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and later periods. This deep insight into Rossetti’s works allows the reader to gain a better understanding of the existing bond between Rosseti’s paintings and his poetry, as well as to appreciate the importance of symbolism as a language in the artist’s ouvre. More generally, Drew gives his reader an overall view of the use of symbolism in the art of the Aesthetic Movement.
Drew’s work is a fully original study of Rossetti’s Symbolism, and an essential resource for teachers, researchers, and Art History students, and for anyone interested in the Pre-Raphaelite Movement. This is a fundamental guide to a proper understanding of late 19th century art.