· Vatican City ·


A rebel paints a rebel

by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), albumen print, 7 October 1863
03 July 2021

On this month's cover is the painting Jehane la pucelle by British artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), the famous “painting poet” of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. This was an artistic movement in the second half of the 19th century. The essence of a Christian rebel is more than the depiction of an historical heroine with a sword as a symbol of courage coupled with a visionary gaze. Rossetti, who had painted several versions of Joan of Arc, was struggling for his health while working on this, his last painting. His is a struggle against her suffering in the form of a femme fatale. The tension between red and powder pink makes the whole painting flow “in its referral to the pure future”, if we recall the features of Romano Guardini's religious aesthetics. The saint's grey eyes come from an inner seeing, as if her sensual lips were receiving a kiss that “can no longer be founded on the world”. A symbolic concreteness and an ideal are replaced by opposites of form that make room for a “desire to be desired” to help change society.

By Yvonne Dohna Schlobitten