Fazio’s Mistress is an oil painting by the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, completed in 1863. Inspired by Fazio degli Uberti’s Canzone, it was initially a part of a double work with Rossetti’s Early Italian Poets painting. The artwork depicts a woman with red hair plaiting it before an ebony mirror while holding a jade brush and double comb. The model for the painting was Fanny Cornforth, who was also Rossetti’s mistress.
The work was reworked in 1873 but retained the original model’s head. It is also known as Aurelia and was owned by Birkenhead banker George Rae, one of Rossetti’s patrons. In 1916, with assistance from Sir Arthur Du Cros Bt and Sir Otto Beit KCMG through the Art Fund, it was purchased.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 and is regarded as one of its significant figures. He was not only a painter but a poet, illustrator and translator as well. His later works reflect his obsession with death that he had struggled with throughout his life because of his father dying when he was young and from tuberculosis which killed several members of his family including himself at the age of just fifty-three.
Fazio’s Mistress remains significant among oil paintings created by Dante Gabriel Rossetti during the Pre-Raphaelite movement due to its use of symbolism in representing love between two people bound together by fate despite social prohibitions against them at that time – something that resonated deeply within Victorian society where taboo subjects were often sublimated through art such as this piece.