Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Beloved (‘The Bride’)

1865–6

In Tate Britain

Artist
Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828–1882
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 825 x 762 mm
frame: 1220 x 1110 x 83 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased with assistance from Sir Arthur Du Cros Bt and Sir Otto Beit KCMG through the Art Fund 1916
Reference
N03053

Summary

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Display caption

This work is inspired by the biblical Song of Solomon. It tells the story of a young woman preparing to marry. Rossetti shows her lifting a veil from her face, her eyes fixed directly on the viewer. The bride is surrounded by her attendants. In the foreground is a young Black child, holding roses. The women around the bride appear to have darker skin and hair than she does. Some modern commentators suggest that Rossetti is celebrating beauty and diversity. Others see it as racist, and argue that it imposes white standards of beauty, positioning the bride as superior due to the colour of her skin.

Gallery label, June 2019

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