Aurea Catena (Portrait of Mrs. Morris) (c. 1868) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Aurea Catena (Portrait of Mrs. Morris) - Dante Gabriel Rossetti - c. 1868

Artwork Information

TitleAurea Catena (Portrait of Mrs. Morris)
ArtistDante Gabriel Rossetti
Datec. 1868
Dimensions30 3/8 x 24 5/8 in
Current LocationFogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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About Aurea Catena (Portrait of Mrs. Morris)

Aurea Catena is an exquisite drawing created by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a pre-Raphaelite painter from England. Measuring 30 x 24 inches, the drawing features colored chalks on grey-blue paper and is a portrait of Mrs. Morris, a major inspiration for Rossetti during his prolific period of life. The painting was inscribed with Rossetti’s signature and date on a scroll at lower-left and is closely related to one of his drawings of Mrs. Morris.

Rossetti frequently created double works, poems that accompanied paintings, and The Portrait is one such work that celebrates the themes of love, art, the artist, and eternity. His highly-detailed rendering style emphasizes realism in the portrayal of Mrs. Morris’s delicate features – her soft lips, round chin, arched eyebrows – all in vivid colors that stand out against the mellow background.

Despite its title “Aurea Catena,” which translates as “Golden Chain,” there are no visible chains in this artwork. However, it can be interpreted metaphorically as symbolizing emotional connections between people or ideas that transcend time – like love or art or both – illustrated through Rossetti’s intricate details and tender colors that express heartfelt sentiments between the artist and his muse.

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