Dante Gabriel Rossetti: The Man Who Sold the World? David Bowie credits Rossetti with inspiring drag-queen cult
I was surprised to discover a reference to Gabriel Rossetti in a 1976 issue of Playboy Magazine (which I was only reading for the articles). When interviewer Cameron Crowe asked David Bowie about the inspiration for the eye-catching English cover art for The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie replied: ‘Funnily enough, and you’ll never believe me, it was a parody of Gabriel Rossetti. Slightly askew, obviously. So when they told me that a drag-queen cult was forming behind me, I said, “Fine, don’t try to explain it; nobody is going to bother to try to understand it.”’
Click here to read the full article. (This is only a link to Cameron Crowe’s website, not Playboy Magazine. To which I would never provide a link in a million years! Because ‘yuck’, basically).
Aside from the fact that I think ‘Slightly askew, obviously’ would make a magnificent album title on its own, Bowie’s parody got me thinking. Was his Pre-Raphaelite pose meant to be generic, or did he have a specific Rossetti picture in mind? While Bowie himself resembles one of the leaner and fairer of the Rossetti models (Lizzie Siddal perhaps?), the closest match I could find for his pose was a drawing of Jane Morris on a sofa, held in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
What do you think? Can you find any better candidates?