Previous 143 of 278 Next
Paolo and Francesca

Amor, ch'al cor gentil ratto s'apprende,

prese costui de la bella persona

che mi fu tolta; e 'l modo ancor m'offende.

Amor, ch'a nullo amato amar perdona,

mi prese del costui piacer sì forte,

che, come vedi, ancor non m'abbandona.

Amor condusse noi ad una morte:

Caina attende chi vita ci spense.


Noi leggiavamo un giorno per diletto

di Lancialotto come amor lo strinse;

soli eravamo e sanza alcun sospetto.

Per più fïate li occhi ci sospinse

quella lettura, e scolorocci il viso;

ma solo un punto fu quel che ci vinse.

Quando leggemmo il disïato riso

esser basciato da cotanto amante,

questi, che mai da me non fia diviso,

la bocca mi basciò tutto tremante.

Galeotto fu ’l libro e chi lo scrisse:

quel giorno più non vi leggemmo avante.

(Dante, Inferno, canto V)

Love, that on gentle heart quickly lays hold, seized him for the fair person that was taken from me, and the mode still hurts me. Love, which absolves no loved one from loving, seized me for the pleasing of him so strongly that, as thou seest, it does not even now abandon me. Love brought us to one death. Caina awaits him who quenched our life."
We were rending one day, for delight, of Lancelot, how love constrained him. We were alone and without any suspicion. Many times that reading made us lift our eyes, and took the color from our faces, but only one point was that which overcame us. When we read of the longed-for smile being kissed by such a lover, this one, who never from me shall be divided, kissed my mouth all trembling. Galahaut was the book, and he who wrote it. That day we read in it no farther.
(translation by CHARLES ELIOT NORTON)

Francesca da Rimini or Francesca da Polenta (1255 - 1285) was the beautiful daughter of Guido da Polenta of Ravenna. She was a historical contemporary of Dante Alighieri, who portrayed her as a character in the Divine Comedy.
Guido da Polenta had been at war with the Malatesta family. Peace had been negotiated and he wanted to solidify it by marrying his beautiful daughter Francesca with Giovanni (Gianciotto) Malatesta of Rimini, the Malatestan heir. Giovanni was brave but lame and deformed. Guido knew Francesca would refuse him, so the marriage was proxy through Paolo, handsome brother of Giovanni.

Francesca fell in love with Paolo and was unaware of the deception until the morning after the wedding day.

Paolo and Francesca became lovers after being seduced by their reading of the story of Lancelot and Guinevere. They were subsequently surprised and murdered by Gianciotto.

watercolor pencils. 30*40 cm.


5 of 18 Comments Show All 18 Comments

Anonymous Guest

indarto budi 06 Dec 2007

very delightful!

epsylon lyrae 23 May 2007


annette steens 22 May 2007

wow....great art!

Rusty Woodward-Gladdish 21 May 2007

Hello Cristina! How are you? Mucho tiempo......I like this illustration very much. The delicate colours belie a violent moment as Francesca tries in vain to resist Paolo. A skilfully handled watercolour, well controlled. Brilliant artwork! Interesting text too.

Jean M. Laffitau 13 May 2007

Very well done Cristina!