Being an avid Dan Brown reader, I was thrilled to receive his new book Inferno. What I love about his books is the great mix of history and mystery and the journey he takes you on. So imagine my delight when I realised that one of the many portraits that stares down on me and my fellow visitors is that of the great Dante.
As Dan Brown writes:
“Dante Alighiem” Langdon began
“This Florentine writer and philosopher lived from 1265 to 1321. In this portrait, as in nearly all depictions, he wears on his head a red cappuccino – tight fitting, plaited hood with ear flaps – a heavy jaw and hooked nose.”
This perfectly describes the Museum’s Dante painting by Sir Frederick William Burton. The artist presented this picture to George Eliot and George Henry Lewes whilst he was drawing her portrait. George Eliot wrote a book called Romola set in Renaissance Italy around actual historical events and figures with a well known connection to Florence.
“Seek and ye shall find”
As I step through the gallery and admire the watercolour of elegant Venice and wood block illustrations of historical Florence the silent clocks pass the time as Dante’s salient features with laurel crown stare down at me.
“O you possessed of sturdy intellect, observe the teaching that is hidden here.”
So forget far off destinations like Venice, Florence and Istanbul, why not seek out Nuneaton Museum, you might be surprised by what stories ye shall find.