Dante Triptych

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

General Description

Date: 1852 (circa)

Scholarly Commentary


DGR conceived a plan for this work in the early 1850s. It was to have been a three-panel work illustrating key incidents in the life of Dante: the first would have been Giotto Painting the Portrait of Dante, which DGR in fact brought to completion as a watercolor and a finished drawing; the second would have shown Dante as one of the Florentine magistrates presiding over the banishment of Cavalcanti; and the third would have portrayed Dante at the court of his patron Can Grande in Verona. The second part of the triptych, Dante condemning Cavalcanti to exile, was not executed at all; the third, Dante at Verona, never passed beyond the stage of preliminary sketches.

The choice of subjects for the triptych is extremely interesting, perhaps especially in the choice of the Cavalcanti episode. The panels clearly mean to interpret Dante and his poetry in relation to general issues of art and society—as opposed to DGR's other Beatricean treatments of Dante, which focus on art in relation to aesthetics and psychology.

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