A Vision of Fiammetta

Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Physical Description

Medium: oil
Dimensions: 36 x 55 in.
Signature: DGR
Date on Image: 1878
Note: The signature and date are inscribed at lower left.

Production Description

Production Date: 1878
Exhibition History: Royal Institute, Manchester, 1882; R.A., 1883 (no.304); Huddersfield 1883 (no.296); Manchester, Royal Jubilee Exhibition , 1887 (no.703); Guildhall 1897 (no.143); New Gallery 1897 (no.67); R.A., 1901 (no.53); R.A., Pre-Raphaelites and Other Masters, 2003
Model: Maria Spartali Stillman


Current Location: Collection of Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Archival History: W.A. Turner; Christie's sale April 28, 1928 (lot 117); Charles Butler; By descent to his grandson, Patrick Butler; Knight Frank & Rutley sale November 11, 1956 (lot 78); Christie's sale April 2, 1965 (lot 49); Mr. and Mrs. David Rust

Scholarly Commentary


Commentary is not yet available for this image.


A Vision of Fiammetta
Description: “Fiammetta. . .wears a flame-coloured dress in allusion to her name. Her figure stands glowing against a dark background: a vision of the brief moment between life and death. The short-lived apple blossom signifies the transience of beauty: Fiammetta stands entwined in the branches of an apple tree surrounded by emblems of the departing soul a shower of falling red and white blossom, a blood-red bird (the messanger of death), butterflies (symbols of the soul), and an angel in the aureole around her head” (Julian Treuherz, “Dante Gabriel Rossetti,” Pre-Raphaelites and Other Masters, Royal Academy Exhibition 2003, 31).

Included Text

  • Behold Fiammetta, shown in Vision here.
  • Gloom–girt 'mid Spring–flushed apple–growth she stands;
  • And as she sways the branches with her hands,
  • Along her arm the sundered bloom falls sheer,
  • In separate petals shed, each like a tear;
  • While from the quivering bough the bird expands
  • His wings. And lo! thy spirit understands
  • Life shaken and shower'd and flown, and Death drawn near.
  • All stirs with change. Her garments beat the air:
  • The angel circling round her aureole
  • Shimmers in flight against the tree's grey bole:
  • While she, with reassuring eyes most fair,
  • A presage and a promise stands; as 'twere
  • On Death's dark storm the rainbow of the Soul.
Note: The frame of the painting is inscribed with three texts: the sonnet by Boccaccio “On his Last Sight of Fiammetta” that inspired the painting, DGR's translation of that sonnet, and DGR's original sonnet composition that explicitly doubles the picture.


  1. image

    Angeli, DGR con 107 illustrazioni , 141.
  2. image

    Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial , 194b recto.
  3. image

    Gowans and Gray, Masterpieces of Rossetti , 59.
  4. image

    Delaware Art Museum print.
  5. image

    Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné , vol. 2, plate 366.
Electronic Archive Edition: 1
File Name: s252.rap.xml