Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Salutatio Beatricis: Tradition as Translation
This article focuses on the importance that D.G. Rossetti attributed to the re-semantization of Dante’s work, his visual translations of the Vita Nuova proving most revealing when adhering less to their source text. The translating strategies adopted by the poet-painter in his illustration of The Salutation of Beatrice (both in his 1849 and 1859 versions) reveal how Rossetti’s post-Romantic anxiety of incompatibility between sign and referent is perfectly reflected in his conception of the sister arts, engaged as they are in an endless chase game. If the value of tradition and translation lies for Rossetti in discontinuity rather than in homogeneity, then the Vita Nuova proves to be the most inspiring book thanks to its ability both to take on and to infuse new meanings to Rossetti’s own production.