On display

Pia de' Tolomei (c. 1868)

This work was painted at the start of Rossetti's affair with Jane Morris, who modelled for the picture. As he was to do with Beata Beatrix (1870), Rossetti chose a tale from Dante (from Purgatorio) to illustrate his love for his model. The story tells of a woman whose husband imprisoned and later poisoned her: Rossetti wanted the world to believe the fantasy with which he was deluding himself - that William Morris kept Jane against her will. He continued this theme, as shown in Proserpine.