Faust: Gretchen and Mephistopheles in the Church

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1848 July
Subject: DGR described the drawing thus: “Margaret, having abandoned virtue and caused the deaths of her mother and brother, is tormented by the Evil Spirit at Mass, during the chaunt of the ‘Dies Irae’” ( Fredeman, WMR, The P. R. B. Journal, facing page 110 ).


◦ Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 162-163.

◦ Fredeman, WMR, The P. R. B. Journal, facing page 110.

◦ Grieve, “Rossetti's Illustrations for Poe,” Apollo 97 (1973), 142-145.

◦ Marillier, DGR: An Illustrated Memorial, 73.

The Pre–Raphaelites, Tate 1984, 241.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 7-8 (no. 34).

◦ WMR, Family Letters vol. 1, 120-121.

Scholarly Commentary


This drawing was much admired by Millais when he first saw it in the summer of 1848. Hunt recommended that DGR submit it for the Royal Academy's annual exhibition of 1848, scheduled for September.

The Faust legend (especially as articulated in Goethe's Faust ) was a favorite subject for DGR from as early as 1846 (see commentary for Faust: Mephistopheles Outside Gretchen's Cell).

Production History

DGR drew the picture and submitted it to the Cyclographic Society for criticism in July 1848. Millais's lengthy critique survives (see Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 8 ). DGR completely recast the drawing in a second version. A study for the first version remains in a private collection.


DGR and Walter Howell Deverell founded the Cyclographic Society in 1848. It was intended as a club whose members would submit their work to the group for discussion and criticism. The society did not survive very long because most of the members' work was not sufficiently interesting or competent.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s34.raw.xml