Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Beata Beatrix


Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Ref GM3341
Type Fine Art Print
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‘Beata Beatrix’ depicts Beatrice Portinari from Dante Alighieri's poem La Vita Nuova at the moment of her death. The painting's title in English translates to 'Blessed Beatrice'. La Vita Nuova had been a story that Rossetti had found of interest from childhood and he had begun work translating it into English in 1845 and published it in his work, The Early Italian Poets. Rossetti modelled Beatrice after his deceased wife and frequent model, Elizabeth Siddal, who died in 1862. The painting was created from the numerous drawings that Rossetti had made of Siddal during their time together. The symbolism in the painting of a red dove, a messenger of love, relates back to Rossetti's love for Siddal with the white poppy representing laudanum and the means of her death. Several of Siddal's friends found the painting to bear little resemblance to the drawings of her—the facial features were harder and the neck is out of proportion. Beata Beatrix is one of Rossetti's most recognized works and has made Siddal's name to be one that is frequently linked with Dante Alighieri's Beatrice. In an 1873 letter to his friend William Morris, Rossetti said he intended the painting "not as a representation of the incident of the death of Beatrice, but as an ideal of the subject, symbolized by a trance or sudden spiritual transfiguration." 'Beata Beatrix' is an oil on canvas painting, on display in the Tate Britain, London.