Portrait of Dante - Botticelli. Tempera, canvas, 54.7x47.5
Could the great Botticelli have ignored his greatest contemporary, great poet, creator of the Italian literary language and author of the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri? However, despite the fact that the ownership of this portrait (as well as some others) by the great master’s brush is being questioned, suppose that after a series of illustrations for the “Paradise” and “Hell” of the mentioned poem, the artist himself, or with the help of his students, created the image of the author of an immortal work. Obviously, Botticelli shared the radical political views of the poet, who was an active supporter of the independence of Florence. The poet spent many long years in exile due to the internecine warfare that plagued his hometown at the end of the thirteenth century.
The face depicted in the portrait exudes calm, strong will and self-confidence. Before us is an outstanding, independent personality. Bright red, but modest clothes, reminiscent of the priest's robes, speak of spiritual aspirations, a laurel wreath - of literary victories, a U-turn in profile makes the portrait similar to the image on the order or coin. Only the edge of a dazzling white cap sticking out from beneath the red cap on Dante’s head with allegorical ribbons allegorically speaks of the purity and sincerity of the thoughts depicted and the characteristic self-irony.