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The Angel Inviting Dante to Enter the Fire   1824-27
pen, ink and watercolour over pencil and black chalk (NGV 32)
Felton Bequest, 1920
National Gallery of Victoria

Purgatorio XXVII, 5-36. Virgil and Dante are now accompanied by the Roman poet Statius. They are near the summit of the mountain of Purgatory mounting a path the inner side of which is filled with flames, and are confronted by an angel who tells them that the only way forward is by passing through fire. Dante is terrified but Virgil reassures him that, even though he will feel pain, he cannot be destroyed; moreover, beyond the flames he will find Beatrice.

(c)1999 National Gallery of Victoria