Christina Rossetti’s poem entitled “In an Artist’s Studio” is a depiction of two characters having connection with one another – the painter and the model. The painter saw different light from the model that he is painting. The model was not a usual woman but an angel or a saint that comes from heaven. He was mesmerized with the captivating aura of the woman who seemed to be simple in the past. Through the painting process, light comes within the woman as she unravels her selfless being that brought fulfillment to the dreams of the painter.
Rossetti created this poem for her sister named Sidal. Before Siddal died, she influenced her sister Christina towards its creation of sonnet or prose poems. “Siddal’s delicate health was evident from the beginning. For Millais’ Ophelia, Siddal lay for hours fully clothed in a tub full of water (heated by lamps, which soon went out). Afterwards, she became ill (Wise-Lawrence). ” Christina’s brother was the painter while Siddal was the model in the poem.
Readers could analyze how the relationship of the painter and the model developed throughout the verse. As the poem progresses, significant manifestations of internal relationship also emerged. There are existing problems in both personal and aesthetic in terms of the relationship of the model and the painter. The first thing is that the attachment between the two is somehow dependable to one another. One character could not generate its own identity without the help of the other. 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 (9-14).
” From this stanza, it can be seen that the painter could not already live without the model who seemed to be his saint or angel in disguise. It shows that the painter dwells on the character of the model alone and not on his being as an individual and a painter.
Another problem occurred within the poem is the issue of siblings relationship. Because it is known that Christina created this poem as a depiction of her brother and sister, readers could not break this connection against the meaning of the poem. Readers already perceived that there is no intimate or passionate relationship with the two or as simply as brother and sister relationship. It can be seen in the first four lines of the verse. One face looks out from all his canvasses, / One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans; / We found her hidden just behind those screens, / That mirror gave back all her loveliness (1-4). ” “‘In an Artist’s Studio’ muses on the poetics of female representation and the ideals of heterosexual relationships, hinting at a calamitous narrative (O’Gorman 370). ”
As what Gorman is trying to imply in his analysis, the poem is a justification of perceiving woman as the center of beauty and peace while the man is the center of passion and creativity which was seen in the fifth to eighth stanza of the poem. A queenin opal or in ruby dress, / A nameless girl in freshest summer greens, / A saint, an angel; — every canvass means / The same one meaning, neither more nor less (5-8). ” It means that it is possible for the speaker to determine about the final judgment of the painter’s work/s because the speaker or the persona was in the larger context of the scenario. It means that there are no implications of bias perception towards the works of the painter because she saw the creation behind the frame or in short, she exists outside the situation of the model and the painter’s point of view.
As a whole, the painter, the model, and the poet are three interrelating characters that were illustrated in the poem. Readers could see how these three people attached their selves to one another. The painter showed how he loved his model in a passionate way but was seen in the perspective of being a brother towards her sister. Therefore, it can be said that Rossetti’s model is a justification of personal and sociological influence of the family towards the perception and identity of the painter and the model.