(b. 1824, Paris, d. 1905, Paris)
Marble, height 185 cm
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Literary subjects were held in particularly high esteem by Romantic artists. In the front rank of such subjects were those drawn from Dante. Ever since it was written in the early fourteenth century, the Divine Comedy had enjoyed extraordinary favour in the field of plastic arts. Romanticism breathed new vigour into it, delighting particularly in the association between Virgil and Dante. It saw the former as the very embodiment of the elegiac poet, in contrast to the somber, tormented genius of the latter. Conversely, Neoclassical artists favoured exclusively the Latin poet.