Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Mariana
Mariana is one of my favorite paintings. I can’t put my finger on it, but the real-life painting is mesmerizing. The story goes as follows…
At the request of his patron William Graham, Rossetti transformed the composition of his portrait of Jane Morris (‘The Blue Silk Dress’) into a subject picture. By adding a page-boy (modelled by Graham’s son), the figure turns into Mariana, from Shakespeare’s ‘Measure for Measure’, deserted by her betrothed.
This subject involves a woman neglected or unsatisfied by her husband (or in this case fiancé). It thus seems specially suited to Rossetti’s series of paintings of Jane Morris.