The Barque of Dante

Painting by Eugene Delacroix 1822.

Influenced by Gericault's "Raft of the Medusa".

This is a romantic painting with emphasis on the emotions of the subjects and dramatism.

This is Dante (a Medieval poet) and Virgil (a roman poet) making their way to hell on a boat. It is a scene from Dante's "Divine Comedy" (1306-1321). Poet Dante visits three parts - Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. This is him making his way to hell through an infernal city of Dis, with souls of the damned desperately trying to cling unto the boat to escape.

The damned souls are portrayed either madly engaging in some gainless task or feeling completely helpless.