Thursday, January 10, 2008

Photographs of Jane Morris

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood has had two days of great posts on Jane Morris, one of my favourite figures of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Being a Jane Morris fan, I have my own favourite photographs of her that I would like to share.
These two photographs of Jane Morris, in which she was posed by her friend and lover Dante Gabriel Rossetti, were taken in 1865 by John R. Parsons as part of a series commissioned by Rossetti. I think it is the most beautiful picture that we have of her, and most closely resembles the paintings by Rossetti. The real beauty of her face seems more evident in profile than in photos taken head-on (this is noticible even in paintings--Rossetti almost always chooses to paint her in profile).

If you're a fan of Pre-Raphaelite art, chances are you have seen numerous paintings of Jane without realizing it (such as the famous Proserpine painting, above right). She was one of Rossetti's favourite subjects and was thought by members of Rossetti's circle (including her husband, William Morris) to epitomize Pre-Raphaelite notions of beauty. You will notice that her dress in these photographs is quite loose and flowing--a hallmark of the Pre-Raphaelites, who felt that this "artistic" mode of dress was superior because it did not hide the natural curves of the female body. This might seem a little odd today, as "Artistic Dress" certainly covered the female form than todays clothing. Nevertheless, in comparison with the mountains of petticoats, crinolines, bustles and the like worn by their contemporaries, the Pre-Raphaelites were certainly more in touch with natural form.


Tracy said...

I'm a Jane fan too! It was very interesting to see that last photo you have here Showing Jane Morris, as I'd not seen that one before.My DH & I have talked how it would be to step back in time, and think the time of the PRB in England would be just the time to set the time machine for. :o)

Bebe said...

I love to see the real people that inspire the art! Rossetti did a great job of capturing her style and easy elegance in his portraits.

This makes me want to go to the library right this minute and check out every book on Pre-Raphaelite art I can find!! Thanks for posting your photographs!

Bebe :)

Oona =^..^= said...

I saw your comment waaaay over at Deadjournal. Thank you! I just was curious how you found me. :)