Paolo and Francesca


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Nov 2009

Dante and Virgil in the underworld speak to the souls of Paolo and Francesca, the tragic lover. (Inferno, Canto V). Very much inspired by the illustrations of Gustav Dore, although with the couple's pose borrowed from Bouguereau's 'Cupid and Psyche'. Paolo and Francesca lived in medieval Italy. Francesca was tricked into marrying Paolo's brother Giovanni, thinking it was Paolo she was to wed. Her father Guido da Polenta wanted to clinch a peace treaty with their clan, the Malatesta, the only trouble was that the eldest brother, who stood to inherit the lordship of Rimini, was a malformed villain to. Paolo continued to visit Francesca, and one day when reading a book about Lancelot and Guinevere they were inspired to kiss for the first time. Her husband Giovanni, at that, jumped out from behind a curtain and stabbed the couple to death.