Palazzo Reale (Milan, Italy): Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood
This work was executed while Rossetti and other artists were decorating the Oxford Union with medievalist murals. In Oxford, Rossetti saw Jane Burden, later Mrs William Morris, and immediately asked her to pose for him. She is the model for Princess Sabra, threading a lock of her hair through St George's helmet.
The claustrophobic composition is characteristic of much of Rossetti's work at this time. Sabra's embrace of an armoured figure, enmeshing him with her hair, and St George's distracted gaze hint at Rossetti's dilemma of being involved with Elizabeth Siddall but feeling a strong attraction for Jane.
Gallery label, August 2004
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