The Art of the Sublime

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Beata Beatrix c.1864–70

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 'Beata Beatrix' c.1864-70
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1828–1882
Beata Beatrix c.1864–70
Oil paint on canvas
support: 864 x 660 mm; frame: 1212 x 1015 x 104 mm
Presented by Georgiana, Baroness Mount-Temple in memory of her husband, Francis, Baron Mount-Temple 1889
Tate N01279
The inspiration was Dante’s Vita Nuova (New Life), which explores the Italian poet’s idealised love for Beatrice and her premature death. As an omen of death, a bird drops a white poppy between her open hands. In the background the ghostly Dante gazes towards the figure of Love. Rossetti viewed this as a memorial to his wife and the model for Beatrice, Elizabeth Siddall, who had died in 1862. Rossetti had buried the manuscripts of his unpublished poems including ‘On the Vita Nuova of Dante’ with his wife but, in a macabre twist, retrieved and published them in 1870.

How to cite

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Beata Beatrix c.1864-70, in Nigel Llewellyn and Christine Riding (eds.), The Art of the Sublime, January 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/the-sublime/dante-gabriel-rossetti-beata-beatrix-r1104876, accessed 21 December 2014.