About this artwork

The original version of 'Beata Beatrix' is in Tate and dates from around 1864- 70. Images for much of Rossetti's work were provided by his study and translation of medieval poetry, including Dante's 'New Life'. In this poem Dante's love for the unattainable Beatrice who dies young inspired Rossetti's 'Beata Beatrix' for which his wife was the model. A chronic invalid, she died after only two years of marriage and the original picture was finished in 1870 as a memorial to her. On the left in front of the Tree of Life, the figure of Love holds Dante's flaming heart; with closed eyes, Beatrice contemplates the Earthly Paradise. The red bird of death carrying an opium poppy refers to the fatal dose of laudanum taken by Rossetti's wife.

  • title:
    Beata Beatrix
  • accession number:
    NG 1721
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    Dated 1880
  • measurements:
    86.00 x 66.70 cm (framed: 122.56 x 103.50 x 8.25 cm)
  • credit line:
    Presented by A E Anderson in memory of his brother Frank 1928
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve