Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born Gabriel Charles Dante on May 12, 1828, in London, England. He started painting as a young man, and though he wrote poetry occasionally, his primary occupation was that of an artist. He associated with artists
Brown and Hunt, and together they formed The Brotherhood, or Pre-Raphaelites. Mr. Rossetti's work in the literary world began when he began to dabble in poetry, the subjects of his work "indecent for its time." Ironically, his art and literature is fairly Italian in nature; Dante Gabriel Rossetti had never been to Italy.
He married a redheaded woman named Elizabeth Siddal, who was first a model and then his mistress. Many people knew Rossetti and his wife intimately remarked that Dante's love for Elizabeth was not realistic, that he put her on a pedestal almost as a surreal goddess; she inspired many of his pieces. Once, Dante told Elizabeth that his love for her would be even deeper if she were to die. Soon after, she committed suicide by overdosing on laudanum and people believe that Dante drove Elizabeth to her death. The poems that he had written were buried with her, and only after Dante developed an obsession with getting them back were the works recovered during an exhumation of Elizabeth's casket. The famous poet changed his name to Dante Gabriel Rossetti from the name of his birth, Gabriel Charles Dante, because as a "serious poet" he wished to be associated with his sister, respected poet Christina Rossetti. During the latter years of his life, as he grew more senile, he was consumed by memories of his dead wife, as well as persecution mania. He died paranoid and alone on Easter Day in 1882.