Painting Pandora by Dante Gabriel Rossetti – a sad romantic story with a mythological plot
Pandora is a 1871 painting by the English painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The master depicted a plot from the ancient Greek myth about the first earthly woman, created by the gods of Olympus. Hephaestus sculpted a female body from water and clay, and the rest of the deities showered her with gifts.
Aphrodite – beauty, from Athena got a luxurious silver dress and a golden crown, Hermes put sweet speech into his mouth, and cunning and cunning into his thoughts. And all this in order for Zeus to take revenge on people who, against the will of the gods, learned to use fire, cultivate fields and build houses. The Thunderer decided to punish them for their insolence and sent the two-faced Pandora to earth. There she seduced the titan Epimetheus and married him.
The husband told the temptress that a mysterious vessel is kept in the house, which is forbidden to open. The curious woman disobeyed her husband, opened the drawer and released innumerable vices and misfortunes. At the last moment, she came to her senses, slammed the lid and left hope at the very bottom of the box, depriving people of even a ghostly chance for a better life. The heroine, however, is not filled with remorse, on the contrary, she looks at what is happening with melancholy and indifference.
The title of the painting: “Pandora” (English Pandora).
Author: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882).
Year of writing: 1871
Size: 131 x 79 cm.
Technique: Oil painting.
Location: Private collection.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti is a famous 19th century Victorian painter and poet.
One of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, he worked in the style of romanticism and painted amazing female portraits that impress the audience with their brightness and originality. “Pandora” is made in the usual handwriting for the master and became the first portrait of his new beloved Jane Morris, nee Burden.
The artist began working on the painting at the end of 1869. He decided to exhume his wife’s grave in order to get the manuscripts out of the coffin. Thus, a parallel can be drawn between the plot and Rossetti’s act – like Pandora, he released the torment and suffering that he experienced after the death of his wife. Jane did not pose for the painter – he reproduced her image from a photograph taken in 1865.
Especially for the masterpiece, Rossetti made a chest, which was sold at auction to a private collection along with the painting in 1965. The canvas itself changed owners three times. In addition, the author composed a small sonnet for the work and published it in a poetry collection.
A few years later, the artist returned to the myth about a woman with a box of discord, but the new work remained unfinished, according to art critics, due to the master’s illness and his addiction to drugs. Jane Morris is shown in the pastel sketch. The main difference from the original version is the expression of horror and grief on the heroine’s face.