A Baroque Painting Depicting the Forbidden Love of Paolo and Francesca


An exceptionally executed oil on canvas Baroque painting depicting “lovebirds” Paolo Malatesta and Francesca Da Rimini whispering to one another. At the feet of Paoio there is a dog symbol of loyalty and hovering in the landscaped background are two Putti depicting Cupid and Amor, symbolic of love. The painting is unsigned and is presented in a new baroque style gilt wood and gilt plaster frame that was specifically made for it.

The story goes that Francesca da Rimini (1255 – c. 1285) was a medieval Italian noblewoman originally from Ravenna, known for having been murdered by her husband, Giovanni Malatesta, upon his discovery of Francesca’s affair with his brother, Paolo Malatesta. She was a contemporary of Dante Alighieri, who portrayed her as a character in the Divine Comedy.Daughter of Guido I da Polenta of Ravenna, Francesca was wedded in or around 1275 to the brave, yet crippled Giovanni Malatesta (also called Gianciotto son of Malatesta da Verucchio, lord of Rimini.The marriage was a political one; Guido had been at war with the Malatesta family, and the marriage of his daughter to Giovanni was a way to secure the peace that had been negotiated between the Malatesta and the Polenta families. While in Rimini, she fell in love with Giovanni’s younger brother, Paolo. Though Paolo, too, was married, they managed to carry on an affair for some ten years, until Giovanni ultimately surprised them in Francesca’s bedroom some time between 1283 and 1286, killing them both.

Dimensions: 44.5″W X 29″H; Canvas alone 37.5″W X 22″H