"In an Artist's Studio"

Explore Rossetti's critique on the portrayal of muses in art with "In an Artist's Studio". Delve into our analysis and discover a deeper understanding of artistic representation.

"In an Artist's Studio"
Christina Rossetti's "In an Artist's Studio" scrutinizes the artist-muse dynamic. This is about obsession: the same muse on every canvas. The repetition of one face underscores his fixation. The artist projects her into different roles — queen, saint, angel — overlooking her identity.
One face looks out from all his canvases, One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans: We found her hidden just behind those screens, That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress, A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens, A saint, an angel — every canvas means The same one meaning, neither more or less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night, And she with true kind eyes looks back on him, Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim; Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright; Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.
The line, "he feeds upon her face by day and night," suggests a vampiric relationship between the artist and his muse. She's portrayed "not as she is, but was when hope shone bright." Here is an artist who has immortalized his subject, and so has forgotten her.

Story From

Christina Rossetti Collection