RAFFAELLO Sanzio
(b. 1483, Urbino, d. 1520, Roma)

The Parnassus (detail)

1509-10
Fresco
Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

The Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (1265 -1321), author of the Divine Comedy, is here depicted standing behind the classical Greek poet Homer. A preparatory study, now in Windsor, shows the detailed working out of the portraits. For Homer's face, Raphael used as a model a classical sculpture, the Laocoön, that had been discovered just a few years before. It is not known which model he used for Dante.