barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


Paolo and Francesca

Rome, about 1814-20

Oil on canvas

35 x 28 cm


Paolo kisses Francesca, inflamed by their reading of the Arthurian romance of Guinevere and Lancelot.  Gianciotto, her deformed husband, and brother of Paolo, enters from the right and prepares to kill them.  This story of illicit lovers, condemned to an eternity in hell, appears in Dante’s Divine Comedy, written in the 14th century.

The important French neo-classical artist, Ingres, painted many medieval and renaissance subjects.  He developed a simplified style of strong silhouettes and bright colours based on early renaissance artists.  This manner was designed to fit the historical period of his subjects.


Purchased 1954 (No.54.6)

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Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867)

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