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Silence

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

European Art

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his fellow British artists of the avant-garde Aesthetic Movement increasingly questioned the ideal of “finish” and publicly exhibited sketches and studies like this one. Rossetti made countless drawings and paintings of his lover, the textile artist and model Jane Burden Morris. This work likely began as a study for the 1868 painting La Pia de’Tolomei, but Rossetti made it into an independent work of art, representing silence with the iconography of the veil and the peach branch, which he described as “the symbol used by the ancients; its fruit being held to resemble the human heart and its leaf the human tongue.” The passages of blank, unmarked paper likewise suggest the idea of silence.
MEDIUM Dry pigment (pastel or chalk) on two sheets of joined wove paper
  • Place Made: England
  • DATES 1870
    DIMENSIONS 41 7/8 x 30 3/8 in. (106.4 x 77.2 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Signed, "DGR" monogram/"1870" lower right of composition in pencil
    INSCRIPTIONS Upper left in dry pigment: "SILENCE"
    COLLECTIONS European Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 46.188
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Luke Vincent Lockwood
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Dante Gabriel Rossetti (British, 1828-1882). Silence, 1870. Dry pigment (pastel or chalk) on two sheets of joined wove paper, 41 7/8 x 30 3/8 in. (106.4 x 77.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Luke Vincent Lockwood, 46.188 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 46.188_PS1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 46.188_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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