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Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appraised by Dante and Virgil

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Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta appraised by Dante and Virgil
1835 Ary Scheffer - The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil.jpg
ArtistAry Scheffer
Year1835 (1835)
LocationThe Wallace Collection

Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta appraised by Dante and Virgil (and several variant titles) is a composition painted in at least three very similar versions by Ary Scheffer; all are in oils on canvas. They show a scene from Dante's Inferno of Dante and Virgil viewing Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta in Hell. It "could be described as Scheffer's best work".[1]

In the first volume, Inferno, of The Divine Comedy, Dante and Virgil meet Francesca and her lover Paolo in the second circle of hell, reserved for the lustful. Here, the couple are trapped in an eternal whirlwind, doomed to be forever swept through the air just as they allowed themselves to be swept away by their passions. Dante calls out to the lovers, who are compelled to briefly pause before him, and he speaks with Francesca. She obliquely states a few of the details of her life and her death, and Dante, apparently familiar with her story, correctly identifies her by name. He asks her what led to her and Paolo's damnation, and Francesca's story strikes such a chord within Dante that he faints out of pity. The pair, depicted either during their life or following Dante, became a very popular subject in 19th-century art.

Like some other artists, for example William Powell Frith, Scheffer got in the habit of repeating his most successful paintings in smaller versions later in life, as his more recent works became less successful, and his role as a court painter was lost after the French Revolution of 1848. The first or prime version was painted in 1835 and measures 166.5 by 234 centimetres (65.6 by 92.1 in); it is now in the Wallace Collection in London.[2] The second version (1854), measuring 51.7 by 81.3 centimetres (20.4 by 32.0 in), is in the Hamburger Kunsthalle.[3] The third version (1855) is now in the Louvre in Paris, with Louvre Classification: R.F. 1217.[4] Another version from 1851 measuring 24.7 by 33.2 centimetres (9.7 by 13.1 in) hangs at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio.[5] The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh has another version.[6]

Various titles are used:

  • Just Francesca da Rimini today at the Wallace Collection
  • The Ghosts/Shades/Shadows of Francesca de Rimini and Paolo Malatesta Appear to Dante and Virgil by various sources, especially of the Hamburg and Paris versions.
  • Dante and Virgil Encountering the Shades of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta in the Underworld in Pittsburgh
  • Dante and Virgil Meeting the Shades of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo in Cleveland
  • Les ombres de Francesca da Rimini et de Paolo Malatesta apparaissent à Dante et à Virgile by the Louvre.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ Rosenthal, Léon, Romanticism, p. 172, 2014, ISBN 1783103280
  2. ^ "Ary Scheffer". The Wallace Collection. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  3. ^ Rosenthal (2014), p. 123
  4. ^ "Les ombres de Francesca da Rimini et de Paolo Malatesta apparaissent à Dante et à Virgile". Louvre. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Dante and Virgil Meeting the Shades of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo". Cleveland Museum of Art. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  6. ^ Ary Scheffer, Dante and Virgil Encountering the Shades of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta in the Underworld, (detail) 1851, oil on canvas, Heinz Family Fund and Anonymous gift, CMOA

Bibliography