Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the charismatic force behind the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His romantic, medieval inspired work was a great influence on the designer William Morris as well as author JRR Tolkien.
Rossetti had no respect for authority, and this caused him problems when he studied at the Royal Academy. His tutors wanted him to study High Renaissance artists such as Raphael. He preferred earlier artists like Botticelli. Together with fellow students John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
Rossetti led a tangled love life. This is reflected in his paintings. He became romantically involved with many of his models, in particular Elizabeth Siddal. Siddal was the model for many of his most famous paintings, such as Beata Beatrix. Rossetti married Siddal, but she committed suicide the year after giving birth to their stillborn child.
From 1870 onwards Rossetti produced less and less work. At the end of his life, he was depressed, suicidal, addicted to the drug chloral hydrate, and conducting an affair with his former friend Morris's wife.
Rossetti's most famous works include The Annunciation, Lady Lilith and Proserpine.