The Circle of the Lustful, Paolo and Francesca William Blake Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

The Circle of the Lustful, Paolo and Francesca is a piece of artwork created by William Blake. It was developed between 1826 and 1827, with a reprint done in 1892. The artwork is part of Illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy with a line engraving on the paper medium.

The size and dimensions of the artwork are 9 7/16 x 13 1/4 in. (24 x 33.7 cm) on the plate and represented within the Tate collection. The frame measures 18 x 24 in. (45.7 x 61 cm) and the sheet being 10 3/4 x 13 13/16 in. (27.3 x 35.1 cm). The acquisition is part of the assistance fund from a special grant from the National Gallery. The artwork was also acquired from Lord Duveen and the Art Fund donations, among others, with a representation in the 1919 art fund. The reference number is A0005. The original watercolour is currently located in the City Museum and Art Gallery in Birmingham.

This print comes right after the engravings of The Book of Job and is shown in some aspects of The Circle of the Lustful, Paolo, and Francesca. Through Linnell, Blake was commissioned to make more prints within the Dante series. There were about only seven of these engravings produced by the time William Blake died in 1837. The Circle of the Lustful, Paolo, and Francesca mainly shows a scene in Hell from Canto 5. It offers a form of bereavement of life from a scene, and Francesca and Paolo are included. The lust theme of the painting is also clearly represented with an actual storyline. According to the story, Francesca’s character was in love with the brother of her husband, Paolo.

The relationship between the two filled her husband with rage, and he decided to have both of them put in jail. Dante faints due to overwhelming compassion. On the painting’s Virgil's head, Paolo and Francesca are reunited in the afterlife. The secondary title of The Circle of the Lustful, Paolo and Francesca by William Blake is The Whirlwind of Lovers, from Dante's Inferno, Canto V. Part of its exhibition history is the November 1, 2005–January 28, 2006. AXA Gallery. Imagined Worlds: Above, Below, and in Between 1500–2000, November 1, 2005–January 28, 2006. It is mainly romanticism with timelines appearing in Great Britain and Ireland 1800-1900 A.D. The artwork is related to author Dante Alighieri (Italian, Florence ca. 1265–1321 Ravenna). It also holds the credit line of rogers fund, 1917, and an accession number 17.65.1.