Vasto fetes Rossetti's famous family
The seaside Abruzzo town of Vasto is celebrating the family of one its most famous exiles, Gabriele Rossetti, whose English-born offspring caused a stir in London's 19th-century art and literature circles.
Commemorating 180 years since the birth of Gabriele's most famous son, Dante Gabriel, the seaside town is hosting an exhibition of books, documents, photographs and art exploring the life and work of the Rossetti family.
The centrepiece of the show will be a valuable painting on loan from London by Dante Gabriel, co-founder of the romantic Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with its love of all things medieval.
Beata Beatrix, normally held in the Tate Britain, depicts the artist's wife Elizabeth Siddal as Dante Alighieri's muse Beatrice.
Completed between 1864 and 1870, it was part of a cycle of paintings by Dante Gabriel illustrating the Italian poet's La Vita Nuova, and shows Beatrice at the moment of her death.
The painting is seen as a tribute to Siddal, who died of a laudanum overdose in 1862.
However, the exhibition, which opens on August 14, explores the talents of the entire Rossetti family.
Born in Vasto in 1783, Gabriele Rossetti was forced to flee Vasto at the age of 38 as a result of his support for revolutionary Italian nationalism.
He settled in London three years later, where he became Professor of Italian at King's College and married Frances Polidori, with whom he had four children.
Maria Francesca Rossetti (1827-1876) was the eldest, and became an author and later an Anglican nun.
Dante Gabriele (1828-1882) was born next. Although named Gabriel Charles Dante, he called himself Dante in honour of Dante Alighieri.
He studied poetry and later published translations of various medieval Italian poets but is today best known for his artwork, particularly his contribution to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
William Michael Rossetti (1829-1919) was also heavily involved in the movement, editing its magazine and penning its founding principles.
After Dante Gabriele, Christina (1830-1894) was the Rossetti to gain most recognition for her work.
Hailed as the ''next female laureate'' after the death of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, she wrote a variety of religious and children's poems.
Today, she is best known for her long poem Goblin Market. Illustrated by Dante Gabriele, it tells of two close sisters tempted by goblins to buy strange fruit.
The exhibition, curated by Pre-Raphaelite expert and biographer, Jan Marsh, features 30 artworks on loan from the US and the UK, as well as an array of original documents.
It runs in from August 14 until November 16.