Dante and Beatrice
|According to the autobiographic La Vita Nuova,
Beatrice and Dante met only twice during their lives. Following their
first meeting as children, Dante was so enthralled by Beatrice that he
later wrote in La Vita Nuova: Ecce Deus fortior me, qui veniens
dominabitur michi ("Behold, a deity stronger than I; who coming, shall
rule over me").
Dante's courtly love for Beatrice continued for nine years, before the pair finally met again. This meeting occurred in a street of Florence, which she walked along dressed in white and accompanied by two older women. She turned and greeted him, her salutation filling him with such joy that he retreated to his room to think about her. In doing so, he fell asleep, and had a dream which would become the subject of the first sonnet in La Vita Nuova.
Dante and Beatrice, by Henry Holiday.
|Beatrice "Bice" di Folco Portinari was the woman identified as the
inspiration for Dante Alighieri's Vita Nuova, and also
identified with Beatrice who appears as one of his guides in the
Divine Comedy in the last book, Paradiso, and in
the last four cantos of Purgatorio. There she takes over as guide from
the poet Virgil because,as a pagan, Virgil cannot enter Paradise and because, being the
incarnation of beatific love, as her name implies, it is Beatrice who
leads into the beatific vision.
She was the daughter of a banker Folco Portinari, and was married to another banker.
Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rossetti