Study of a Young Girl

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1850?


◦ Benedetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti., 160-161.

◦ Surtees, A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, 219 (no. 664).

Scholarly Commentary


The drawing is a key document in the early development of DGR's ideas about how to represent the neo-platonic “dream maiden” that pervades the entire corpus of his work both literary and pictorial. The pertinence of this figure to that subject is underscored by the identification that has been made between the woman in this drawing and the “figura mistica” of DGR's seminal tale of 1849-50 “Hand and Soul”. Counting against that specific identification is the color of this girl's dress, which is not green, as is the dress of Chiaro's soul-maiden in DGR's story. Besides, we know that early in 1850 DGR made a drawing of Chiaro “in the act of painting his Soul”. This drawing was to be engraved for a fifth issue of The Germ (which never appeared). The drawing was engraved by H. C. Shenton but when DGR saw the proof on 28 March he was so unhappy with the result that he destroyed the plate (see WMR Family Letters I. 155 ).

Nonetheless, although this drawing may not have been the drawing of 1850 mentioned by WMR, it belongs to that period and has the closest affinities with the “figura mistica” that DGR was contemplating at that time.

Production History

There is some controversy about the date of this early drawing, which survives in the single copy that DGR gave to Madox Brown. It may have been executed as early as mid-1848 when DGR was working in Brown's studio, but the more likely date (see commentary for the drawing itself) is perhaps 1850, after DGR returned from his trip to the continent with Hunt.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: s664.raw.xml