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  • Looking at his rugged, bitter face, it is hard to believe that this is Dante Alighieri - as in Dante & Beatrice - the classic Italian poet whose words created one of the most influential ideals of romantic courtly love.

    Dante & Beatrice, his muse, first met in Florence in 1274 when he was nine and she -- eight-years old. Falling in love at first sight, he admired her from afar and never spoke to her until a decade later. At 19 the sight of her walking down the street in a white dress inspired him to write La Vita Nuova, one of the world's greatest romantic poems.

    Dante's literary genius was driven by his unfulfilled love for Beatrice through the rest of his life. He wrote The Divine Comedy, the masterpiece of Italian poetry, culminating just before his death in 1321 with La Commedia, the greatest love poem about soul's ascent from Inferno to Purgatory to Paradise.

    I painted Dante from his death mask; death masks fascinate me.

    Using color and texture I breath life into their stone forms to ignite the unique life spark of individuals that shaped our world, long after they are gone.

    Dante's face is harsh, reflecting a life spent in yearning for perfection and affection out of his reach. But his Love, woven into his words lives on still sending ripples of inspiration and awe centuries after the Poet - and his Beloved - are gone.

    Love is Immortal. Love is Strong. Love is Art. Love just Is.

    365 Faces / Day 107
    See a fine art short film with time-lapse of this portrait and two more in act of becoming at http://vimeo.com/36660909
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