The Salutation of Beatrice (1859) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Salutation of Beatrice - Dante Gabriel Rossetti - 1859

Artwork Information

TitleThe Salutation of Beatrice
ArtistDante Gabriel Rossetti
Dimensions160 x 74.9 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

About The Salutation of Beatrice

“The Salutation of Beatrice” is an oil painting completed by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1859, which can be classified within the Romanticism movement and identified as a literary painting. The artwork spans 160 cm in height and 74.9 cm in width. It is currently housed at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. The artwork is steeped in literary references, capturing a moment inspired by the poetic works associated with Dante Alighieri’s adoration of Beatrice.

The artwork is a diptych, meaning it is a two-paneled painting. On the left panel, we observe a scene set in Florence in 1285. Two groups of figures appear to be encountering one another. A woman, presumably representing Beatrice, accompanied by two female figures, meets a young man draped in a red cloak, who is likely Dante himself, barred by the central dividing column that physically separates the two groups. The garments and the architectural elements echo the period’s aesthetic.

The right panel features the same figures, but this time the setting is Eden in 1290. Here, the same figures are surrounded by lush greenery and floral embellishments, with Beatrice now positioned centrally, garbed in a ceremonial robe and embraced by a halo of leaves. Her companions on both panels are dressed similarly, but with subtle differences that distinguish the earthly setting from the heavenly.

The attention to detail in the clothing, the ornate borders with inscriptions, and the lush vegetation all speak to the Romantic fascination with historical and literary themes as well as the desire to evoke emotion and explore spiritual concepts through visual art. Rossetti’s penchant for medieval and spiritual iconography manifests vividly in this work, creating an intricate narrative that engages both the eye and the mind.

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