Arthur's Tomb Dante Gabriel Rossetti Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Arthur's tomb is one of the initial Arthurian drawings made by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. It is a painting that shows his fascination with the subject of King Arthur and his knights. The art was developed in 1855.

To support the claim, there is a letter that was written by Dante Rossetti the same year informing Ford Madox Brown that the Launcelot drawing is near completion. As you will see later, Dante Rossetti uses this drawing to show a clear distinction between sacred and profane love. The drawing Arthur's tomb was developed using watercolours, body colours, and graphite on paper. Similar materials were used on a series of Arthurian drawings that came later. He is seen creating an incredible image that shows two people leaning on Arthur's tomb. His ability to capture the moment is excellent. Each detail is well achieved, thus giving the drawing a detailed look.

The painting shows Queen Guinevere kneeling on the ground while her former lover sir Lancelot leans over Arthur's tomb. Dante Rossetti draws Queen Guinevere with her crown, which sits on a long white veil. She is wearing a black habit with a brown woollen belt wrapped around her waist. Nuns were the only women who wore those clothes. This is a path Queen Guinevere chose after a revelation about her adultery was made.

Sir Lancelot, on the other hand, is seen wearing a red cloak. He is also seen carrying a shield and sword on the side. Dante Rossetti draws the exact moment when Sir Lancelot leans towards Queen Guinevere intending to kiss her only for the Queen to decline. According to the book Book XXI of Malory's Morte d'Arthur, it states that Sir Lancelot asked the Queen to kiss him once and never again, but the Queen rejected saying she will never do such works.

The painting was commissioned by John Ruskin, a critic who stated that the drawing is a bit blurry. He goes ahead to say that King Arthur's feet are not well delivered and Sir Lancelot bends funnily. It is, however, true to say that Dante Rossetti delivered some remarkable details which include the paintings on King Arthur's tomb. The background is also well-drawn, even though less attention was made to its contents. The drawing is currently located in the British Museum in London. The drawing is known to show the last meeting of King Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.