Pre-Raphaelite Artist: Marie Spartali Stillman

Marie Sparteli (later Stillman) was born on March 4,  1844 to Greek immigrants living in London.   While females are mostly known as the famous muses/models of the Pre-Raphaelite movement (and Marie, herself, did pose for Ford Madox Brown and Rossetti),  Marie became a renowned artist in her own right.

  Kelmscott Manor

Her father enjoyed throwing garden parties in which he was noted for inviting up and coming artists.  It was during one of these gatherings that Marie met the famous writer and critic, Swinburne.  It may have been through this meeting that she was later introduced to the wider Pre-Raphelite circle.

  Love’s Messenger

She began studying art under the tutelage of Madox Brown in 1864.   Like the other Pre-Raphaelites, Marie  was enamored with Shakespeare, Dante, and Boccaccio, amongst others.

  Dante and Beatrice

At the age of twenty- seven, she wed the American painter and journalist, William Stillman.  Together, they split their time between London, Rome, and Florence.   

Marie and William had three children.  Unfortunately, the youngest son died as an infant.  However, her eldest, Michael, moved to the United States as and adult where he became a successful architecht.  Her daughter, Sonia Zuckerman, is still alive, and is known for her philanthropical works.

Marie died on March 6, 1927.  After being cremated, her ashes were interred in her father’s tomb.

  A Rose from Armida’s Garden

  Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni

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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love the Pre-Raphaelite’s and Marie was an amazing artist. I always thought Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni was one of the great Pre-Raphaelite’s paintings

  2. These paintings are very beautiful.
    It is funny in life how someone get a big break. It is always through knowing someone knowing someone, plus her art work speak out loud for herself. She must has been very passionate in her work for both her children to follow some what of her footstep.

  3. Ah, so beautiful! Thank you for introducing me to this artist.

  4. Chazz,

    Her Madonna is breathtaking!

    The Pre-Raphaelites are probably my favorite set of artists. Their use of color mixed with their themes are so stunning.

  5. Heya Starting Over,

    It was definitely helpful for her to have been able to meet those people. Especially when you consider how many doors were kept closed to women back then.

    Makes me wonder about all the other talented women back then who just painted by themselves without any chance at all for their work to be seen.

  6. You’re so welcome, Diane!

    And thank you very much for visiting my blog. 🙂

  7. So true your statement go with the same sentiment as book writers. Perhaps women painter/artist done the same. They painted things and a man was the person who took the credit and got paid for it. Out of the agreement the women took a small percentage.

  8. I love the Pre-Raphalites obsession with the Middle Ages and Early Renaissance, like an 19th century version of fantasy writing art.

  9. “Love’s Messenger” and “Rose from Armida’s Garden” are so gorgeous, and I am just about dying to get the Tarot bags with those prints from Baba Studios! 🙂 Not sure I’d use them for Tarot decks, I might just frame them or hang them up on the wall.

    The Metropolitan Opera’s broadcast yesterday was “Armida” by Rossini, coincidentally.

  10. Heya Ralfast,

    What an interesting and acute way of looking at it!

  11. DD,

    I nearly drooled when I saw those bags! I wish they had those pictures on the bucket bags. Utterly divine.

    i missed the opera yesterday. Drats. I will check to see if they have it On-Demand. Thanks for letting me know!

  12. […] Sunday Tweet- Pre-Raphaelite Artist: Marie Spartali Stillman. […]

  13. Oh, her paintings have such a lovely glow to them. I love the Pre-Raphaelites.

  14. Me too, Amy. Me, too! 🙂

  15. I like Dante and Beatrice. Thanks for the blog post I didn’t even know there was a pre-Raphaelite movement.

  16. You’re welcome, Lyra! 🙂

    If you want to learn more about the Pre-Raphaelites there’s a lot of good books and online sites on them.

  17. Never heard of this one, but she sounds fascinating. Several of the pieces look like she used herself as the model, especially “Rose”

  18. Hey Dominique,

    I hadn’t noticed that. But you’re right, there is a resemblance. Thanks for pointing that out. 🙂


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