Astarte Syriaca (1877) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Astarte Syriaca - Dante Gabriel Rossetti - 1878

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Artwork Information

TitleAstarte Syriaca
ArtistDante Gabriel Rossetti
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions106.7 x 183 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationManchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK

About Astarte Syriaca

The artwork “Astarte Syriaca” is a mythological painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, completed in 1878. It is an oil on canvas piece, embodying the Romanticism art movement. The dimensions of this work are 106.7 x 183 cm. Currently, the piece is housed at the Manchester Art Gallery in Manchester, UK.

Describing the artwork, one is immediately drawn to the central figure, a portrayal of Astarte, the Syrian fertility goddess. She is depicted as a commanding presence, exuding a sense of power and voluptuous allure. Her captivating gaze meets the viewer, while her full lips are slightly parted, suggesting enigmatic calmness. The goddess’s cascading dark hair frames her face and shoulders, enhancing her magnetic charm.

She is draped in a flowing emerald gown that clings to her form, reflecting Rossetti’s attention to texture and color. The richness of the green hue complements her striking beauty and symbolizes fertility and the earth’s verdancy. Her attire is luxuriously adorned with golden girdles and intricate jewelry, which accentuate her divine status and the painting’s overall opulence.

To Astarte’s sides, two attendant figures seem to be caught in an act of worship or adoration, their gazes directed upwards towards unseen heavens. Their ethereal forms and amber-toned wings imbue the composition with an otherworldly atmosphere. These figures help to reinforce Astarte’s stature as a deity, being looked upon with reverence and awe.

The background of the artwork is awash with warm, golden tones that blend into a luminous glow, providing a halo-like effect around the goddess and her attendants. The setting is ambiguous, conjuring an enigmatic realm befitting the supernatural subject.

Rossetti’s “Astarte Syriaca” is a powerful evocation of mythological grandeur, steeped in the aesthetics of Romanticism. Through his masterful use of color and form, the artist invites the viewer to contemplate the enigmatic essence of the divine feminine and the poetic mystique of ancient deities.

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