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Scheffer enjoyed enormous success with sentimental and religious scenes, many of which became the subject of popular engravings. Francesca da Rimini was one of his most admired works – this is the first version, but he produced many others. A subject from Dante’s 'Inferno', it shows Dante and his guide, the Roman poet Virgil, during their passage through Hell. They look on the tragic figures of Paolo and Francesca, condemned with the souls of the lustful to the stormy darkness of hell’s second circle. Francesca had been forced to marry the hideous Gianciotto da Rimini, but had fallen in love with his handsome younger brother, Paolo. In 1285 they were murdered by Gianciotto. He had seen Paolo kiss Francesca while they were reading together an account of the love of Sir Lancelot for Queen Guinevere.

The Wallace Collection

London

Title

Francesca da Rimini

Date

1835

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 166.5 x W 234 cm

Accession number

P316

Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1870; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type

Painting

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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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