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This is an illustration to Purgatorio (Purgatory) from Dante’s Divine Comedy. It shows the earthly Paradise at the top of the mountain of Purgatory. Here Dante meets Beatrice, who is to become his guide and inspiration.

Dante is wearing red, symbolising love. He kneels down to drink from the river of light, which flows from the sun. Beatrice is shown sitting opposite Dante; Blake’s symbols for the Arts and Nature are immediately above them.

February 2004