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This is a painting more about a text rather than an illustration of one. The artist shows us the poet, Dante, deep in thought. The title of the picture explains the subject of his deliberations. The large folio volume supported by his right hand is probably his great work, the 'Divina Commedia'.This long poem is divided into three parts, one of which is the 'Inferno', or Hell. Dante includes himself in this poem being conducted around hell by the poet Virgil who shows him various sinners and the dreadful consequences of their sin. The poem’s thesis is that we should condemn the sin and the sinner alike, but in the dramatic fifth canto of the 'Inferno' Dante meets the two murdered, adulterous lovers, Paolo and Francesca. They are locked in an eternal embrace, condemned for eternity to one of the circles of hell; Dante is moved to pity.
oil on canvas
H 101 x W 89 cm
acquired as part of the Wrigley Gift