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The bride is described in the biblical Song of Solomon. Rossetti shows her at the moment she takes the veil from her face, transfixing the viewer with her direct gaze and the power of her beauty.
The picture’s lush exoticism is accentuated by the flowers and the bride’s luxurious Japanese dress and Peruvian headress. Her attendants are of varying physical types and ethnic origin. Some modern commentators suggest that Rossetti is celebrating the diversity of beauty. Others see it as racist, a visualisation of the supremacy of the bride’s whiteness, in contrast to the darker complexions of her attendants.

February 2004