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One of the preliminary sketches for "Compositions from The Hell, Purgatory and Paradise of Dante Alighieri", illustration to Dante's "Paradiso", Canto XXXI, Mary the Queen of Heaven enthroned and encircled by adoring forms moving among the rays proceeding from her glory
Pen and grey ink
- Production date
Height: 128 millimetres
Width: 191 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- In this drawing Flaxman has surrounded Mary, Queen of Heaven, with adoring forms in a manner evoking the design of a mandorla. Mandorlas were almond-shaped outlines or series of lines intended to differentiate the supernatural, or divine, from the natural, or human, and thus were commonly used in representations of Christ and the Virgin who were both endowed with divine light. This was a common compositional device in early Italian art (pre-15th century). Flaxman's sketchbooks and notes attest to his having studied a variety of Italian Trecento and Quattrocento art whilst in Italy, and this drawing shows this direct inspiration. Another Dante design shows Christ in a mandorla ('The Triumph of Christ' from the Paradiso, Houghton Library, Harvard University).
Composition engraved by Piroli and published May 1st, 1807, London, from drawings in the possession of Thomas Hope, 1793. See the curatorial comment to 1885,0509.1638 for further details regarding Flaxman's illustrations to Dante.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1977/8 Oct-Jan, Hamburg, Kunsthalle, 'Flaxman', no. 304
2007 Aug-Nov, Grasmere, Dove Cottage, 'Dante Rediscovered'
2015 July-Sep, BM, 'Unity and Simplicity: Neoclassicism in Europe'.
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Compositions from the Hell, Purgatory and Paradise of Dante Alighieri
Associated Title: Paradiso
Associated Title: Divine Comedy
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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