Dante’s Tomb, Ravenna, Italy

From a report written by Official Canadian War Artist Captain GC Tinning dated 1 Jan 45 to 15 May 45: “On 14 Jan 45 I returned to 5th Canadian Armored Division … I decided to remain near the front so took billets and a studio at the Academia della Arte at Ravenna … I left Ravenna on 16 Feb 45… Work accomplished: 2 large watercolours – Lorne Scots at Dante’s Tomb ; 3 smaller watercolours – same subject.”

Dante’s Tomb, Italy 1945; watercolour on paper; 56.4×76.5 cm CWM 19710261 5451

Dante’s Tomb; watercolour on paper; 40.5 x 58.0 cm; LAC 1990-142-71R

Italian poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was born in Florence and died in exile in Ravenna. This simple marble structure, on a side street in central Ravenna, was built in 1780 to restore the nobility of Dante’s burial. Nearby is a garden where the poet’s remains were preserved during World War II.

In January 1945, the Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton) Regiment from south central Ontario became responsible for the defense of Ravenna in Northern Italy. At the time the German front had become static for the winter on a line approximately 10 miles (16 km) from the city. As an Army war artist Tinning’s duties were to portray people and places relating to units of the Canadian Army.

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