La Ghirlandata
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La Ghirlandata
/ 1059 (Collage 11122)
Guildhall Art Gallery: Permanent Collection
"La Ghirlandata"; shows a woman seated plucking at a harp, surrounded by plants with two angels peering through them. 'La Ghirlandata' is one of several paintings of women playing musical instruments painted by Rossetti between 1871 and 1874 which loosely celebrate music or lyric poetry. His intense use of colour creates a brooding pictorial mood, while the picture's symbolism - although unclear - may reflect Rossetti's unhappy mental condition at this time. In an article in the Art Journal in 1884 his brother William Michael Rossetti claimed that he had intended 'a fateful or deathly purport' through the dark blue flowers in the foreground, which were supposed to be the poisonous monkshood - although, 'being assuredly far the reverse of a botanist', Rossetti painted its harmless relative larkspur by mistake. The honeysuckle and roses around the top of the harp had a personal connotation of sexual attraction, while the harp itself represents music - common metaphor for love and lovemaking. The climbing plant on the right resembles a clematis - its climbing tendrilly habit perhaps symbolizing binding love.
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