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Rossetti, Dante Gabriel - Dante's Dream

Identifier

008069

Type of spiritual experience

Background

The model for this painting was Marie Euphrosyne Spartali, a British Pre-Raphaelite painter of Greek descent. I have another observation showing her.  She was the model for A Vision of Fiammetta, Dante's Dream, and The Bower Meadow.  In 1871, she married American journalist and painter William J. Stillman and the couple posed for Rossetti in his famous Dante pictures.

The symbolism is not the literal ‘death’ of Beatrice, but an allegory of the Mystic marriage.  The Higher spirit leads the masculine principle [black] to the feminine principle [white]  under the symbolic canopy.  The painting is symbolically identical to the Tarot card of the Lovers.  Incidentally Dante used the same symbolism, however, it has long since been misinterpreted.

The two girls - twins  - are the twin pillars - sort of Caryatids for the canopy.  Dante's hat is not a party hat, but the symbolism is the same.

The rectangle is an indicator of Earth, but there is a staircase for ascent, a spiral one.  The floor is littered with roses.

The crossed hands are in the sign of the St Andrews cross - the symbol of the Orans state.  There is also a lit candle above the canopy.

A description of the experience

The source of the experience

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities