Henry Holiday

One of my favorite pieces that decorate one of my bedroom walls. A painting by Henry Holiday, dated in 1883. A beautiful vision of one of our times greatest writers and poets Dante Alighieri, who wrote the literary classic and literary masterpiece The Divine Comedy that is one of the world’s most read books after The Bible, and Beatrice Portinari, his muse, and love of his life.

If you haven’t read The Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia in Italian), I strongly suggest you get a copy and escape into the three world’s that are Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise) all consisting of 33 cantos. It’s a work written in the first person, the poem tells of Dante’s journey through the three volumes, ending with Paradiso that translates into Heaven where he once again is greeted by Beatrice.
To get an even clearer image about the relationship between these two I always recommend that one start by reading La Vita Nuova (The new life) by Dante, that was published in 1295. A combination of poems and sonnets dedicated to Beatrice, and their story. It’ll help you understand her role in The Divine Comedy and her importance through his journey.
It’s about redemption, self/soul-searching, and religion.

Being a fan of his, after reading his work and having seen this painting online, I simply had to visit the city where it all began, Florence in gorgeous Italy. I went to the bridge where this painting took its inspiration from which is the Ponte Santa Trinita, on where I got goosebumps by just standing there knowing that several years ago, Dante must’ve walked by at some point, or stood there admiring the glistening waters and (Ponte Vecchio) the old bridge right on the other side. I visited Casa de Dante, and in their small yet cute gift shop, I found the copy of the painting which is the one displaying on this entry. The original is set to be in Liverpool, England, at Walker Art Gallery, which I now, of course, have to visit very soon.

This piece represents so much admiration for a woman, a fire burning passion, and pure love from a distance. In all its ache and sorrow, there’s also so much beauty and hope.