Dante's Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice

(version 1 and version 2)by

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(British, 1828-1882)


Beatrice guided Dante through paradise. At the time of her death Rosetti pictures her being kissed by the angel of death who like father time is portrayed with wings also. Rosetti fell in love with a precious woman; he was so fond of her that he saw no problem in giving all woman on his later paintings her face(compare version 2). It gives a strange effect: the woman that way becomes an icon of a goddess that in this case turns out to be Beatrice dying. Time is thus the one angel putting an end to the dream of paradise. And this again is dreamt by Dante. He cannot really see it as a reality. It is just a vision of the end of the life of the omnipresent angel Beatrice, or his own wife, stood for. All woman are like men bound to death and decay. This scene about the dream of her death is a reminder for our childish dreams and hopes of eternal innocence found in youth and love. It can't be the infatuation about form or the irresponsible of childhood. Wake up to the soul: you're dying here! That is the reality of time.

Picture Details:

Painted in 1871; Oil on canvas

Location: Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, England

© Time Art Gallery/hall 2