Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the central figure of the Pre-Raphaelites. Together with Holman Hunt and Millais, he started the original Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and was the 'poetic inspiration' of the movement. He later was the centre of a new group of Pre-Raphaelite inspired painters, tempting the young Burne Jones and William Morris to become artists.
He was born in London, son of Gabriele Rossetti, who had come to England in 1824 and was professor of Italian at King's College, London. His brother, William Michael Rossetti, became an eminent art critic, and he had two artistic sisters, Maria and Christina.
After studying at Sass's drawing academy for four years, in 1846 Rossetti was enrolled at the Royal Academy Schools. However, impatience with the restrictive methods and slow pace of the Academy regime lead him to abandon his studies there, and he then worked for a period under Ford Madox Brown. In 1848 he met Holman Hunt, and they shared a studio together for a time. Through Hunt, Rossetti became acquainted with Millais, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was born in that year.