This work of 1867 is one of the representative works of Rossetti's maturity. Rossetti, both a poet and a painter, drew his subject matter from the Bible, Greek mythology, Dante and Shakespeare in his creation of works filled with Romantic poetic sensibility that feature images of the "femme fatale." Rossetti known also for his lively relationships with women, used his women friends and lovers as models to represent his own image in relationship to the heroines of stories. The model is Alexa Wilding, who frequently appeared in Rossetti's works from the spring of 1865 onwards. Possibly based on a recognition that Alexa's character was not in accord with this subject, Rossetti used a different model in his creation of three replicas of this work in watercolor in the same year. A beautiful young woman with richly braided long brown hair, and wrapped in a deep red robe, raises a golden cup to her lips as she holds the cup's lid to her breast with her left hand and faces the viewer with a dream-like expression. This cup which gives the work its name of The Loving Cup is a cup from which close friends and especially lovers both drink. Here the cup is suitably embellished with heart-shaped designs. The frame of this work is inscribed "Douce nuit et joyeux jour/ A chevalier de bel amour (Sweet night and pleasant day/to the beautifully loved knight)." This inscription shows that the image probably represents a toast to the woman's knight, who is leaving for war or has left for war. While the source of this quote is uncertain, it is thought that Rossetti, steeped in Arthurian legend, wrote the poem himself. A cloth with rich lacework and four brass plates can be seen in the background (the extreme left and the second from the right show deer, the second from the left shows "Hosea and Joshua returning from the Promised Land with a Bunch of Grapes" (Numbers 13:17-29) and the far right plate shows "Adam and Eve eating the Forbidden Fruit"). Ivy, the symbol of fidelity, is also present and the shape of its leaves is reflected in the heart-shaped designs on the loving cup. Even though the true meaning of the work is uncertain, we can see the artist's considerable care both for the formal representation and for the subject's meaning. In any case, this work ably represents Rossetti's superb works in the Pre-Raphaelite style. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 91)


  • Title: The Loving Cup
  • Creator Lifespan: 1828 - 1882
  • Creator Nationality: British
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: Birchington on Sea
  • Creator Birth Place: London
  • Date Created: 1867
  • Location Created: England
  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: Signed (in monogram) and dated lower left: DGR 1867; Titled on top of frame: THE LOVING CUP; Inscribed on bottom of frame: Douce nuit et joyeux jour / A chevalier de bel amour
  • Provenance: F. R. Leyland; Auc. Leyland, Christie's, May 28, 1892, no. 58; T. H. Ismay (died ca. 1908); Mrs. Chamdos-Pole-Gell, 1923; Kojiro Matsukata; Jugo Ginko (The Fifteenth Bank), Kobe; Private Collection, Kobe, 1927; Chichibu-Shokai, Tokyo, 1971.
  • Physical Dimensions: w457 x h660 mm
  • Painter: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
  • Object title (Japanese): 愛の杯
  • Object notes (Japanese): 1867年制作の本作品は、ロセッティの円熟期を代表する作品の一つである。画家であると同時に詩人でもあった彼は、聖書、ギリシャ神話をはじめダンテ、シェイクスピアらの作品に題材を得て、男性を破滅に導く「ファム・ファタール」の登場するいかにもロマン主義的で詩想豊かな作品を描いた。女性関係にも華やかであったロセッティは、物語のヒロインに対する自分自身のイメージを表現するために、好んでモデルに女友達や愛人を用いた。本作品のモデルはアレクサ・ワイルディングで、彼女は1865年の春以来ロセッティの作品に登場している。しかし、ロセッティは彼女の持つ雰囲気が主題と合わないと感じたのであろうか、同じ年に別のモデルを使って水彩による3点のレプリカを制作している。深紅のローブを纏い、長い鳶色の髪をうなじに優雅に巻いた若く美しい女性は、金色の杯を口もとに掲げ、左手にはその杯の蓋を胸にあて、夢見るような表情でこちらを向いている。その杯は、本作品の題名でもある「愛の杯」(ラヴィング・カップ)、すなわち親しい者、特に恋人同士でくみ交わす杯であり、それにふさわしくハートの模様が付けられている。本作品の額に記された「甘き夜、楽しき日/美しき愛の騎士へ」という銘文からみて、彼女は戦に赴く、否むしろ既に戦に行ってしまった騎士のために乾杯しているものと想像される。この銘文の出典は判明していないが、アーサー王伝説などに想を得たロセッティ自身の作とも考えられる。背景には見事な刺繍が施された布と4枚の真鍮の皿(左端と右から2枚目は鹿、左から2枚目は「約東された土地からブドウを持ち帰るホセアとヨシュア」(『民数記』第13章17-29節)、右端は「禁断の木の実を食べるアダムとエヴァ」と識別される)が描かれ、さらに「忠誠」の象徴である蔦が描かれているが、その葉のかたちが「愛の杯」のハート形の模様に一致するなど、制作意図を正確に把握することはできないまでも、造形的にも意味内容の上でも作者の周到なる配慮が窺われる。いずれにせよ「ラファエル前派」を代表するロセッティの芸術的特質を充分に伝える秀作である。(出典: 国立西洋美術館名作選. 東京, 国立西洋美術館, 2006. cat. no. 91)
  • Artist Name (Japanese): ロセッティ、ダンテ・ガブリエル
  • Type: Paintings
  • Rights: Ex-Matsukata Collection, http://www.nmwa.go.jp/en/information/privacy.html
  • External Link: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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