Dante and Beatrice
By Henry Holiday

Dante and Beatrice
By Henry Holiday
In the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Writing about this picture, Mr. Holidays says:  "I had been struck with the charm of Dante's account of his grief when Beatrice on on occasion denied him her salutation, and made a sketch of the subject and a few studies.

In 1881 I went to Florence to make studies for the background. I found that the Ponte Vecchio, which is the central feature in the picture, was destroyed by a flood early in the century, and had been rebuilt before the time of my subject; also that the houses on it were burnt down early in the following century, so that, by the dates, they must have been in course of erection when Dante met Beatrice, and are so represented in the picture. Another interest- ing point was that the Town Council about this time passed a resolu- tion that the streets of Florence should be paved with flagstones, as was already done in some of the principal towns in Italy.

This showed that at my period it was paved with brick, and I found in Siena an old street in which the original brick paving still remained, the bricks being set in herring-bone pattern as in my picture

In gathering these particulars and studying the still extant buildings of the period, I felt that Florence of Dante become a reality to me. "The scene occurs at the corner of the Ponte Sta. Trinita and the Lung'Arno

Beatrice was painted from a beautiful girl, Miss Eleanor Butcher, no longer living.

The lady in red, Monna Vanna, was from Miss Milly Hughes, the charming daughter of a lady friend; Miss Kitty Lushington, the eldest daughter of the well-known judge, Mr. Vernon Lushington, sat for the girl in blue, and Dante was painted from an Italian friend, also an artist."

The pigeons in this picture were painted by J.T. Nettleship.

From the book "Famous Paintings" printed in 1913.

Large files of this public domain print are available at Stock Photos at Songs of Praise
(Firefox users must click again on the large photo to see the very large image.)

Online "Name the Painting"

59787: Child-size Master-pieces Level 2 - Intermediate Child-size Master-pieces Level 2 - Intermediate
By Parent Child Press

All the art reproductions in this volume are to be used with the handbook How to Use Child-Size Masterpieces for Art Appreciation (#59784). This handbook enables parents and/or teachers-who need not be art experts-to introduce fine paintings to children of all ages.

The Story of Dante and Beatrice

Beatrice Portinari
at Wikipedia

Page Comments

Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page )
I dug up a small book here in Wy.with this picture on it. looks very rare, like a scrapbook. I would love some feedback on it. I think its one of a kind. It also has writing in it. Thank you for your time.
http://holiday.snrk.de is about Henry Holiday's (and Joseph Swain's) illustrations to Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark"
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Index Page
Famous Paintings