Delaware Art Museum The Rossettis

Rossetti exhibit moves from London to Delaware next month

Betsy PriceCulture, Headlines

Delaware Art MuseumThe Rossettis

“The Rossettis,” an exhibit from London, will open at the Delaware Art Museum Oct. 21.

Here comes “The Rossettis.”

It’s not a new comedy on NBC or a prestige drama on HBO.

It’s a major exhibit from London that moves next month to the Delaware Art Museum, the only one in the country allowed to host the show.

“The Rossettis” examines the work and impact of Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his family.

Rossetti was among painters who rebelled against art standards in the late 1800s, preferring the style of late medieval and early Renaissance works to the carefully composed pieces influenced by the painter Raphael.

Pre-Raph works are one of the Delaware Art Museum’s core collections, thanks to textile manufacturer Samuel Bancroft Jr. and his wife, Mary, who created the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art outside of the United Kingdom.

When Tate Britain — which has the largest collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings in Britain — decided to focus on the Rossettis, it asked to borrow some of the Delaware paintings.

One of the curat0rs said at the time that they were told by Tate curators that they should couldn’t be mounted without the Delaware works.

Part of the deal is that the show will be loaned to Delaware when it closes in London Sept. 24.

‘The Rossettis’ in Delaware

When “The Rossettis” opens in Delaware for its Oct. 21-Jan. 28 run, it will feature 150 objects, many of which were not on display in London.

The London exhibit focuses on Rossetti, a founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, his wife, Elizabeth Siddal, and siblings Christina, Maria and William Michael Rossetti.

Additions to the show will include paintings, drawings, watercolors and writings by Dante Gabriel, drawings by Siddal, and poetry and prose by Christina, Maria, and William Michael.

Highlights include a trio of portraits of Siddal, created at the same time by three artists and reunited for the first time since their making in 1854.

Two were made by Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon and Anna Mary Howitt.

“Dante Gabriel had asked the women to take Elizabeth on a trip that would lift her spirits,” said Sophie Lynford, Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Collection. “Partway through the women’s holiday, Dante Gabriel joined them. On May 8, 1854, Dante Gabriel, Barbara and Anna each made a portrait of Elizabeth, all from slightly different angles. These three drawings have never been displayed together since their making.”

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The Pre-Raphaelites were working in a time of huge social and economic upheaval. The Industrial Age had begun and people were moving from the country into the city to find jobs. Cities were dirty, workers were poorly paid and treated, crime and all manner of social ills flourished.

The Rossetti family often tackled social justice issues while challenging artistic traditions.

The exhibition tries to bring fresh insights that address contemporary debates about romance, class, sex and gender.

“While Bancroft acquired art by many Pre-Raphaelites, he was drawn most intensely to Rossetti and would be delighted that this show reunites works that haven’t been displayed together for over 150 years,” Lynford said.

“Partnering with Tate Britain, and its extraordinary collection, makes this exhibition an unprecedented opportunity for enthusiasts of the Pre-Raphaelite movement to see so many rare objects in one location, and enjoy immersive programming,” said Delaware Art Museum Executive Director Molly Giordano.

In addition to guided tours and special gallery talks on key works in the exhibit, DelArt will host the Nov. 9-12 Pre-Raphaelite Weekend, a multi-day celebration of Pre-Raphaelite art, the Nov. 11 Pre-Raphaelite Promenade, an enchanting gala set in the Victorian world, to take place at the museum.

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