Monna Vanna

Alternately titled: Belcolore

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: oil
Dimensions: 35 x 34 in.
Frame: The frame was added to the picture in late 1873, when DGR did some repainting for Rae. It is “in two parts, an outer box of reeded black barred with gold and an inner flat decorated with a wavy frond pattern” (see The Pre-Raphaelites, Tate 1984 215).
Signature: monogram
Note: The monogram is inscribed at lower right.

Production Description

Production Date: 1866
Exhibition History: R.A., 1883 (no.302); Guildall 1894 (no.118) Sheffield, Victorian Paintings, 1968 (no.42); R.A., 1973 (no.322); Tate 1984
Patron: William Blackmore
Date Commissioned: 1866
Model: Alexa Wilding
Repainting: 1873


Current Location: Tate Gallery
Catalog Number: 3054
Archival History: William Blackmore; George Rae 1869; Tate Gallery 1916

Scholarly Commentary


Although DGR thought highly of this work, he did not make any replicas after this finished oil completed in 1866 and repainted in 1873. No studies have come down to us either. The painting is one of the most impressive in DGR's series of Venetian-inspired portraits of women.

For a full discussion see the general commentary for this work.

Production History

DGR began this picture in 1866 and was nearing completion on 27 September (see Doughty and Wahl, Letters vol. 2, 606). At that point he offered it to John Mitchell, but the picture was eventually bought by William Blackwell. In mid-1873, after the picture had been acquired by George Rae, DGR took it back for some repainting and finished the work in November (see Doughty and Wahl, Letters vol. 3, 1236).


Monna Vanna
Description: DGR's description (27 September 1866): “I have a picture close on completion—one of my best I believe, and probably the most effective as a room decoration which I have ever painted. It is called Venus Veneta and represents a Venetian lady in a rich dress of white and gold,—in short, the Venetian ideal of female beauty” (see Doughty and Wahl, Letters vol. 2, 606).
Copyright: ©Tate, London 2002


  1. image

    Angeli, DGR con 107 illustrazioni , 118.
  2. image

    Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial , facing page 142.
  3. Ash, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, plate 21.

    (image unavailable)
  4. image

    Gowans and Gray, Masterpieces of DGR , 33.
  5. image

    Bancroft print.
  6. image

    Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 2, plate 281.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s191.rap.xml