- Museum number
- Object: Dante
Portrait of Dante, half-length, in profile to left, with Florentine cap and holding up a plant in his right hand; after the fresco previously attributed to Giotto in the Bargello chapel, Florence. 1859
- Production date
Height: 150 millimetres
Width: 105 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The chromolithograph was produced by Vincent Robert Alfred Brooks after a drawing by Seymour Kirkup after a fresco formerly attributed to Giotto.The chromolithograph was published by the Arundel Society in 1859.
In the exhibition catalogue for 'Dante Rediscovered' (exhibition in the Wordsworth Trust in 2007, cat.78, p. 208), Stephen Hebron states that upon discovering the fresco in the Maddalena Chapel of Bargello or Palazzo del Podesta in Florence on the 21 July 1840, Seymour Kirkup wrote to Gabriele Rossetti: 'We have made a discovery of an original portrait of Dante by Giotto! Although I was a magna pars in this undertaking, the Jacks in the Office have not allowed me yet to make a copy...The precise date of the painting is not known. The poet looks about 28 - very handsome - un Apollo colle fatezze di Dante. The expression and character are worthy of the subject and much beyond what I expected from Giotto: Raphael might own it with honor. Add to which, it is not the mask of the corspe of 56: a fine noble image of the hero of Campaldino'.
According to Hebron, Kirkup bribed a guard to allow him to remain in the chapel after it was closed, and secretly made a tracing of the portrait, a copy of which was later sent to Gabriele Rossetti, another copy was sent to the noted Dante scholar Lord Vernon. It is Lord Vernon's copy which was then made into this print and published by the Arundel Society in 1859.
Hebron comments on the impact that this depiction of Dante had in England, changing people's perception of Dante by presenting a softer and more youthful representation. It also prompted Dante Gabriel Rossetti to make his own drawing of the Giotto fresco, see cat.8,p.80 and cat.80,p.120 of the quoted exhibition catalogue.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number