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A painted plaster relief of the two lovers from Dante's 'Divine Comedy' doomed to be swept along on the wind in the second circle of hell. The characters are based on two real figures, Francesca da Rimini (1255–1285) and Paolo Malatesta (c.1246–1285), brother of Giancotto Malatesta of Rimini, to whom Francesca was betrothed. Giancotto stabbed the two lovers to death.
Paolo and Francesca
H 122 x W 75 x D (?) cm
bottom right of main panel: R. WESTMACOTT JUN. F. AUGT. 27TH 1838
inscription at the bottom of the plaster frame: 'PAOLO E FRANCESCA / Que duo che insieme vanno / E pajon si al vento esser leggieri / Nulla sperenza li conforta mai / Non che di posa ma di minor pena.' and, below and to the right: 'Dante Inferno Canto 5.' They are two non-consecutive couplets from the Inferno: Canto V:74–75 [those two, who go together / And seem upon the wind to be so light] and Canto V:44–45 [No hope doth comfort them for evermore, / Not of repose, but even of lesser pain] (Longfellow English edition).