William Blake Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car 1824–7

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Artwork details

Artist
William Blake 1757–1827
Title
Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Car
Date 1824–7
Medium Ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 372 x 527 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the National Gallery and donations from the Art Fund, Lord Duveen and others, and presented through the the Art Fund 1919
Reference
N03369
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

At the end of The Divine Comedy, Dante is guided through Heaven by Beatrice, his ideal woman. Here she is surrounded by the four apostles, depicted as embodiments of the symbolic animals with which they are traditionally associated. Luke resembles an ox, a creature Lavater described as severe and simple, while Mark appears as a lion, which Lavater saw as strong and bold. John has the face of an eagle, which, according to Lavater, means he ‘must be a brave man’. Matthew is shown as a man with idealised, Christ-like features that seem to echo those of Beatrice.

March 2011