Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) & Beatrice Portinari (1266-1290)
Picture: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
Study for The Salutation of Beatrice (1849-1850)
Pen and ink and wash, 14" x 26", Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA
Dante and Beatrice first met in Florence when he was nearly nine years old (1274) and she was just turned eight. She was dressed in soft crimson and wore a girdle about her waist. Dante fell in love with her at first sight and thought of her as angelic with divine and noble qualities. He frequented places where he could catch a glimpse of her, but she never spoke to him until nine years later. Then one afternoon (1283) he saw her dressed in white, walking down a street in Florence. Accompanied by two older women, Beatrice turned and greeted him. Her greeting filled him with such joy that he retreated to his room to think about her. Falling asleep, he had a dream that became the subject of the first sonnet in his La Vita Nuova, one of the world's greatest romantic poems. The above Rossetti print depicts scenes from La Vita Nuova III where Beatrice first greeted Dante, and Purgatorio XXX when Beatrice meets Dante in Eden “with a white veil and a wreath of olive (From http://www.wisdomportal.com/Romance/Dante-Beatrice.html)
Beatrice "Bice" di Folco Portinari (1266–1290) was a Florentine woman known as the muse of the poetDante Alighieri. Beatrice was the principal inspiration for Dante's Vita Nuova, and also appears as his guide in the Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia) in the last book, Paradiso, and in the last four canti of Purgatorio. There she takes over as guide from the Latin poetVirgil because, as a pagan, Virgil cannot enter Paradise and because, being the incarnation of beatific love, as her name implies, it is Beatrice Portinari who leads into the Beatific vision.
Scholars have long debated the identity of the historical Beatrice. She was apparently the daughter of the banker Folco Portinari, and was married to another banker, Simone dei Bardi. Dante claims to have met her only twice, each time separated by nine years but was so affected by the meetings that he carried his love for her throughout his life. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)