Title

"And the Jet Would Be Invaluable": Blackness, Bondage and The Beloved

Abstract

In March 1865, Dante Gabriel Rossetti encountered a black child in London. One year later, a portrait of this child appeared as an attendant figure in his painting The Beloved (1865–66). The context of the artist’s engagements with black subjects and Victorian-era discourses of abolition, race, minstrelsy, sexuality, and labor illuminates his search for this child, as well as the treatment of his portrait. Rossetti strategically attempted a figuration of blackness independent of political implication and, by proxy, as a way to escape the charged moral discourses about slavery and race he felt surrounded him.

Publisher

College Art Association (CAA)

Publication Date

9-1-2020

Publication Title

The Art Bulletin

Department

Art History

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1080/00043079.2020.1711486

Language

English

Format

text

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