I focus on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, an English poet, painter, and translator of Italian ascendency, and more generally on the Pre-Raphaelites and Victorians. Rossetti's status as an epicenter of Preraphaelite and Victorian art, the influence he had on 19th century artists and writers, the amount of collaborations and exchanges between him and other members of the art society make him a major player in the history of British art and poetry. He might also be considered as the fulcrum of a rossettian trend in art, with consequences still to be found in 20th and 21st century imagery.
My main objective in my dissertation was to show how this specifically rossettian art handles the topics through which Victorian modernity manifests itself, such as science, the concept of an Empire, or the place of women in society. It is my opinion that this relationship between artists and modernity/ies follows a triple path of distanciation, defiance, and divergence, and that traces of this path can be seen in paintings and poems by Rossetti and several other Victorian artists (Siddal, Burne-Jones, Morris...).
I have recently started focusing on different aspects of Victorian fencing: as part of military instruction, and so as a vessel for the propagation of Empire and Englishness, as a sport or a source of entertainment, and as a way to rediscover medieval and Renaissance fighting techniques. Through this last point, I also look at the intersection between Victorian combat (in a military or sport context) and the representation of combat, especially in a medieval context, in Pre-Raphaelite works; this also includes the way in which movement is seen and reconstituted, its link to the body, to knowledge, and to learning.
- Languages and identity
- Medievalism and Victorian art
- Science and technology
- Margins, frames, edges
- Body and materiality
- Life, Love, and Death in Pre-Raphaelitism
- Pre-Raphaelite women (feminine artistic production and representation of women)
- Decadence, corruption, sensuality
- Military history, history of movements
- Combat representation
- Poetics and politics