|Venus Verticordia (1864-68) D G Rossetti|
Venus Verticordia has travelled extensively; think of any Rossetti exhibition you have seen and she was probably there. She’s been to Paris, Monaco, around England, and it was on one of her many jaunts that she was x-rayed, in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It had always been known that Rossetti had repainted this particular picture extensively, but nothing was known about its original state. Thanks to this x-ray, we can tell a little of what Rossetti rejected.
To start with, the x-ray shows us the original position of the head. The original model was a cook that Rossetti saw in the street, and in his usual way accosted her and took her home. She sat for the picture when it was first commissioned in 1864. The description of this young woman is that she was ‘very large...almost a giantess’, although there seems little evidence in the finished picture of the size of the model. The right-hand side of the body is hidden by hair in the finished work, but on the x-ray more is visible, and you can see the broad shoulders of a working woman.
|Possibly the Cook?|
|Fanny, aka The Thief (sorry Fan)|
|Alexa's first outing as Venus|