Art History at a Glance
The complete title of this oil painting (which, for the sake of brevity, we have abbreviated to Dante's Dream) is Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice. And artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti certainly created a massive painting to match the rather lengthy title, for this work of art measures roughly 7 x 10 1/2 feet, making it the largest of Rossetti's images. The subject was inspired by Dante's Vita Nuova. Rossetti depicted the moment when the poet Dante is led by Love to behold the beautiful Beatrice on her deathbed. Love (who is personified as a handsome man with wings clad in vibrant red robes) holds Dante's hand and simultaneously bestows a final kiss upon Beatrice. A pair of maidens with auburn tresses is arranged decoratively at each side of the composition, and with their lovely features, these female figures are a visual echo of Dante's beloved Muse.
David Rodgers has written this informative and engaging book about the artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The book, which is part of the Phaidon Colour Library series, features many of Rossetti's most memorable paintings, including his Beata Beatrix and The Blessed Damozel.