Friday, 10 February 2012

Ary Scheffer and The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil

'The Ghosts of Paolo Malatesta and Francesca da Rimini Appear to
Dante and Virgil' (1835) by Ary Scheffer; Wallace Collection, London

I want to start this post by mentioning something that has nothing to do with the painting chosen for today. It is noteworthy news in the art world and I read about it in a feature article in the Dutch newspaper today. It happened a week ago but totally escaped my attention. Remember my post on Cézanne's painting 'The Card Players'? On the 2nd of February the royal family of Qatar purchased one of the five versions of 'The Card Players' for more than $250 million, the biggest sum ever paid for a painting. The version they purchased was the only one still in a private collection (owned by a Greek magnate). So it's not the version that I used on my post because that's in Musée d'Orsay. For more details, click here. Anyway, today's painting will never raise that amount of dollars although it is beautiful. I had never even heard of its painter Ary Scheffer, born on the 10th of February, 1795. He was a Dutch-French painter and was born in Dordrecht. After his father died he moved with his mother to Paris. He was well-known for his paintings depicting subjects drawn from literature and religion. I had no problem choosing a painting because there are many that I like. The one that I chose for this post is probably his most famous work, also known as just Francesca da Rimini. There are three different versions. The version shown here is the first version painted. The second version is in the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the third version is in Musée du Louvre. The Museum of Dordrecht houses the biggest collection of Scheffer's work in The Netherlands. I must go and see it!

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