Browning's Old Florentine Painters: Italian Art and Mid-Victorian Poetry

Kelvin Everest

in Translating Life

Published by Liverpool University Press

Published in print May 1999 | ISBN: 9780853236740
Published online June 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781846314285 | DOI:
Browning's Old Florentine Painters: Italian Art and Mid-Victorian Poetry

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Robert Browning's dramatic monologues, ‘Fra Lippo Lippi’ and ‘Andrea del Sarto’, were part of his collection of poems titled Men and Women, published in 1855. These monologues focus on two real-life Victorian painters, Filippo Lippi and Andrea del Sarto, respectively. This chapter examines some detailed features of Browning's poetry and some larger questions raised by his interest in those particular painters during the period. In particular, it considers why Browning chose those subjects and argues that his monologues are subtle and powerful character studies that offer broader meanings developed from new possibilities in the significance of Italian art, which are remarkably emergent in cultural commentary during the Victorian period. It also looks at Browning's preoccupation with Italy and things Italian, although not at all interested in its politics any more than with England's.

Keywords: Robert Browning; Fra Lippo Lippi; Andrea del Sarto; Men and Women; poetry; Filippo Lippi; Italian art; Italy; Victorian period; painters

Chapter.  6222 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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