Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s oil painting on canvas, the Beloved, is a masterpiece first painted in 1865-66 and currently held at Tate Britain. The painting is inspired by the biblical Song of Solomon and illustrates two passages from it. The central focus of the painting is a bride removing her veil, emphasizing her centrality with strong color contrasts.
The Beloved features an excellent use of symbolism to convey its message. It depicts the Virgin Mary and lilies, which are believed to symbolize Mary’s purity. The painting emphasis on color contrast also signifies solemnness or indication between good and evil. One unique feature of this work is its medieval motifs that speak to Rossetti’s interests in medieval art revivalism.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti co-founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood Movement where this artwork belongs—his art characterized by sensuality alongside historical stories that inspire his paintings’ theme or subject matter. As an artist who excels in combining realism with symbolism, it makes sense that he chose a religious theme for his oil-on-canvas masterpiece—the Beloved.