Paula Modersohn-Becker’s self-portraits and the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti

I’m very proud to announce that my article for the art history journal The Burlington Magazine (August 2017), “Paula Modersohn-Becker’s self-portraits and the influence of Dante Gabriel Rossetti”, was published this month.

Link to the article:

I’ve been working on this project for a number of years and I’m very excited to see it out in print at last. I first came to realise that there was a strong visual link between the work of German artist Paula Modersohn-Becker and the Pre-raphaelite Dante Rossetti while studying for an MPhil at Bristol University. Whilst randomly flicking through a book on symbolism, my eyes came to rest on Rossetti’s “Astarte Syriaca”, and its resemblance to Modersohn-Becker’s “Composition with three female figures, a self-portrait in the middle” was striking. In the article I identify further pairs of connected paintings, and explain how this influence sheds light on the extraordinary work of Modersohn-Becker.

Whilst studying at Bristol, I began to research the depiction of pregnancy in twentieth-century art. Paula Modersohn-Becker was one of a handful of painters and sculptors who combined ideas of biological generation with artistic creation. I continue to research this fruitful field of study, which I believe has provided both male and female artists with a rich source of ideas. Perhaps because of the private nature of pregnancy, it has had less attention than other fields of study. I hope that my work will go some way towards addressing this.

As a mother of three, and as a profession painter myself, I know that pregnancy and having children has influenced my work immensely. Because some of my paintings are so  personal, there are quite a few of them that I would not want to sell commercially, but I am aware that this imagery continues to inform my other work.

Pregnancy painting by Rebecca Jelbert (1990s)


About jellywalk

I am a professional artist who is happy to take commissions, be they portraits, paintings of baby ultrasound scans, houses, or pets... Please see my art website for contact details: I have prints available for sale from
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