29 February 2012

Francesca da Rimini (1837)

From the collections of the National Galleries of Scotland, the above painting by William Dyce (1806-1864), with this explanation:
Dyce acknowledged this as one of the finest paintings he produced in Edinburgh. Its subject was inspired by the ill-fated lovers described by Dante in his epic poem 'The Inferno'. Francesca, married to an elderly and deformed husband Giancotto, read to his younger brother Paolo and they fell in love. Giancotto surprised the lovers and murdered them. He was originally included in Dyce's composition. A hint of the tragic outcome is still suggested dramatically by the presence of Giancotto's disembodied hand at the left, a fortuitous result of the canvas trimmed to remove damage in 1882
Personally, I like it with the disembodied hand barely entering the frame; it seems even more ominous this way.  I'm glad for the explanation, because otherwise I would never have known what's being portrayed.

I can't very well post a painting of Francesca da Rimini without also posting at least part of Tschaikovsky's symphonic fantasy of the same name.  Here's Part I of III -

- with a) the composer's program notes at the top in grey, b) insightful comments by the YouTube uploader in brown, and c) selected excerpts from the poem in dark brown at the bottom.  For me, the most musically memorable portion starts at about 5:20.

Part II is here.  I'm going to embed the third part -

- because I like the music where the storm  returns at 6:15.

Via Uncertain Times


  1. The moon looks like it has the past few days- a waxing crescent in conjunction with Venus and Jupiter

  2. I love how in so many remarkable paintings the specter of a more original composition remain. On the left side of the canvas, you can still see something else, including the human figure. It constantly frustrates me how few paintings even at established museums have in-depth explanations of the original composition of the work - it's usually just as important as the context of the work. In early 1900s less structured trends of art, such as cubism and expressionism, this layer-on-layer process _is_ the artistic work itself, not a feature of it. ~D

  3. Yes, and the moon is a special one -- it is showing "Earthshine."


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