Mindfulness and Art: Jane Burden

Drawing of Jane Burden
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), Jane Burden (1840-1914), 1858. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.

Take 5 minutes

Spend 5 minutes sitting in silence, looking at this drawing.

Some things to reflect on while looking in silence:

  • How do you feel while looking at this drawing?
  • What do you notice? What is your eye drawn to?
    • The artist's lines and marks
    • The composition
    • The light
    • The shadows
    • The subject
    • The forms and shapes
  • What is the mood and atmosphere in the drawing?
  • Why do you think the artist created the drawing?
Drawing of woman's face
Drawing of hands

About the drawing

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), Jane Burden (1840–​​​​​​​1914), 1858

Rossetti first caught sight of Jane Burden in 1857, when she was seventeen. Smitten by her beauty, he persuaded her to model for Queen Guinevere, one of the characters in his ambitious series of frescos illustrating the legend of King Arthur for the Oxford Union Society building. The mural, for which this drawing was a preliminary study, was never executed. The designer William Morris, a close friend of Rossetti, married Jane Burden in 1859. With her mystical and sensuous looks, she became the archetypal Pre-Raphaelite muse.

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