Rossetti, Dante Gabriel - Portraits of Alexa Wilding 1
Type of Spiritual Experience
The first portrait is called Regina Cordium. The second is called the Garland. The main portrait is called Monna Vanna. Here is what the Tate Gallery has to say about the latter painting
The jewel-encrusted model we see, Alexa Wilding, is enveloped in giant sleeves of white and gold silk, which in 1860s London suggests worldliness and modernity. The billowing gown is accompanied by intricately painted decorations; bottle-green shoulder rosettes, beads and detailed hair clasps punctuate the composition of this portrait, making the eye work in a circular motion as we absorb the rich display of Pre-Raphaelite fashion and beauty.
With Monna Vanna, Rossetti intended to represent ‘the Venetian ideal of female beauty’ and considered the painting to be one of his best works.
There is symbolism built into all the paintings, however, to add a list of symbols rather detracts from what Rossetti was trying to do and that is raise Alexa to the level of an unattainable 'goddess' for spiritual purposes.
A description of the experience