Born 200 years ago today, he should have been one of the major artists of the 19th century, but died when he had only just turned 37.
A pupil of JAD Ingres when he was only 11 years old, his first work exhibited at the Salon when he was only 16: a precocious and brilliant narrative artist.
If Inferno and Purgatory are the stick, Paradise must be the carrot – the incentive to live a pious and upright life. Shown in paintings by Blake, engravings by Doré, and others.
John Collier’s latest ‘problem picture’ became the most popular event in the Royal Academy’s annual exhibition.
In which Dante passes through the realm of fixed stars, then the Primum Mobile, which is the origin of time, and finally the mind of God in the Empyrean. One last Blake too.
Besieged with inquiries from people who couldn’t sleep, Yeames judged a contest to explain his painting. It was clear that even he didn’t know the answer.
In which Dante learns about just rulers and the unjust from a giant eagle made from spirits, and sees Jacob’s ladder leading up to the highest heaven.
Becoming more popular in the late 1880s and early 1890s, ‘problem pictures’ from Marie Spartali Stillman, Henrietta Rae, Millais, and others.
Dante meets St Thomas Aquinas in the shell of the sun, then moves upward to that of Mars, where there are holy warriors.
Fine examples from Millais, Berthold Woltze, Yeames, William Quiller Orchardson, and Degas.