A Vision of Fiammetta 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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Dante Gabriel Rossetti used the Pre-Raphaelite style to create this oil painting named A Vision of Fiammetta. Maria Spartari Stillman modelled for this oil painting, and Boccaccio’s muse named Fiametta was the subject of the art. A Vision of Fiametta represents the theme of Madonna Fiametta, a tragic romantic story of the 14th-century Florentine writer, Giovanni Boccaccio. This symbolic painting aims to show a brief moment between life and death.

The small apple blossom symbolises the transience of beauty, while the butterflies represent the soul and an angel in the aureole around Fiametta’s head. As she faces the moment of life and death, Fiametta barely betrays her emotions but exudes a mysterious and charming air. Marie Spartali Stillman became a protégé and close friend to Rossetti. She was no doubt Rosetti’s most beautiful model at the time. A vision of Fiammetta is the only painting that represented her as a singular figure even though she modelled several works by Rossetti, including Bower Meadow and Dante's Dream.

A vision of Fiammetta painting is among the most accomplished as it displays a soft translation of the contours of her face. Rosetti is proven to have never been more technically brilliant than when he was using coloured chalks. In this painting, A Vision of Fiammetta, he displays Marie Spartali Stillman prominent cheekbones, and the glamorous golden eyes and Cupid’s-bow lips. For many years, Rossetti devoted himself to the English translation of Italian poetry. Afterwards, he created a method of painting in watercolour, using black pigments mixed with chewing gum to produce a rich effect similar to the medieval lighting.

In 1848, Rossetti together with John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. He then influenced a generation of artists such as Edward Burne Jones and William Morris. Later on, Dante Gabriel Rossetti became the main inspiration for many other artists and writers. This painting originally belonged to William Alfred Turner. However, we can now find it in the collection of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber after it went through a sequence of other owners.