Pictures and Poetry Family Day April 29

For Immediate Release

April 24, 2001

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA, (April 20, 2001) - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the artist featured in the Clark Art Institute's spring exhibition Rossetti in the 1860s: The Blue Bower, was as famous for his poetry as for his paintings. He gave his paintings poetic titles and often included poems on the frame or on the canvas. Children and their families are invited to follow in Rossetti's footsteps at the family program "Pictures and Poetry" on Sunday, April 29, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Activities at the Clark will include gallery talks for children and adults, staged poetry readings, hands-on bookmaking, and a "poetry slam" for young people ages four to sixteen. Admission is free. Both children and adults will enjoy gallery talks of the Rossetti exhibition offered at 3:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. In addition, a self-guided tour handout will be available at the information desk throughout the afternoon. At 3:45 p.m., curator of education Michael Cassin and actress Amy Adams will give dramatic--and sometimes silly--poetry readings in the auditorium. At 4:15 p.m. budding poets ages will read their work in a "poetry slam." Throughout the month of April, young people ages four to sixteen, both individually and as school projects, have visited and written poems about the Rossetti exhibition. A number of those who have submitted poems will be selected to read. Space is still available for interested poets; contact the education department for submission guidelines.

From 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. children will be able to make their own blank books which they can then use to write their own poems. Bookmakers will receive suggestions on how to write a poem inspired by the art they see in the exhibition and directions for haiku, limerick, and other poetry forms. Completed poems will be displayed in the Clark café.

In his day, Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) considered himself more of a poet than a painter. His poetry was so important to him that he had his wife's body exhumed in order to retrieve a manuscript he had buried with her ten years earlier. However, today we know him for his paintings, such as those seen in Rossetti in the 1860s. In the 1860s, Rossetti painted a series of half-length portraits of models who epitomized his ideal of female beauty-what he call "stunners." Rossetti's favorite models, who included his wife Elizabeth Siddal and his mistress Fanny Cornforth, shared common traits of long, elegant necks, cupid's-bow mouths, heavy-lidded eyes, and rich, wavy hair. The exhibition is organized by the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, the University of Birmingham, England. The Clark is the only American venue for the exhibition.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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