Bocca Baciata 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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Boca Baciata is a painting that was done by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1859. The painting was the first of Rossetti's female pictures. It marked the beginning of a new journey for Dante. It helped him establish a style for his paintings that you would easily recognize. The title is an Italian proverb to mean ‘mouth that has been kissed.

Rossetti used color, stroke, space, and texture to reflect a certain kind of attitude. His main aim was to portray sensuality. Drawings had to be as gorgeous as possible. He symbolized objects on Bocca Baciata by using lines shapes and angles. A fleshy appearance of a triangle on the painting depicted femininity. The colors of her flesh contrasted with the black surrounding. It, however, did not describe Bocca Baciata’s character in any way. The different colors were only meant to stress on her beauty as well as flesh. The expression on the face and the context depicted mannerism.

George Price Boyce commissioned Bocca Baciata from Rossetti on July 23rd, 1859. Commissioning was possible at the time because he was a close friend to Rossetti. Thereafter, the painting was completed on the 13th of October, that same year it was commissioned. In 1883, Boyce lent the drawing to the Exhibition of Old Masters at the Royal Academy in London. Bocca Baciata is currently at the museum of fine arts in Boston. Mrs. James Lawrence gave the painting to the museum in 1980. Rossetti’s sensuous figure was inspired by Fanny Cornforth. Not only was she the painter’s model but also his mistress. She would later be Rossetti’s housekeeper, performing all duties that a house manager does.

Rossetti felt so inspired by Cornforth that all the figures he painted of her were curvaceous and sexually attractive. Rossetti’s work inspired writers and the second generation of artists. He was also the main inspiration of many European symbolists. Bocca Baciata had different techniques, styles, and subjects applied to it. Rossetti was, therefore, able to effortlessly magnify the image of the woman in his painting. His main aim was to portray his character but with regards to the model. Expressing background and attitude for Rossetti became a symbol as presenting it on a drawing.