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.
V, vv. 127-132)
This composition was inspired by a frame of Nicholas Nickleby [link]
, where Nicholas and Smike are sitten on the same bench and Nicholas read The Pilgrim's Progress
to the poor boy who gaze at him both frightened and astonished.
I immediately thought their pose could be easily adapted to a couple, and since I was correcting homeworks about the Divine Comedy at that time, my choice naturally fell upon Paolo and Francesca.
From the movie's frame I kept the pose and the XIX cent. fashion. I believe it matches very well with Paolo and Francesca's story, for Dante's revival started rightly in the middle of Romantic research for our literary origins. Moreover Inferno V was particularly beloved by XIX c. painters, such as Ingres [link]
, Dyce [link]
, and most of all Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who represented this scene many times [link]
So you may also consider my characters as two '800 people who are reading not the Romance of Lancelot
, but the Divine Comedy itself and are themselves moved to adultery by Paolo and Francesca's tale (it would be metaliterary enough for my taste).
In this scene, while Paolo is still reading and unaware, Francesca suddenly realizes the sentiment the page is making her feel for the man.
Acrylics on Clairefontaine Etival. Drawn and coloured in less than 24 hours, without colour basis. Maybe I should have kept a brownish atmosphere for it all, but oh well.