Portraits of Dante

In many editions of the novel, a portrait of Dante is placed in the center of the dust cover. However, the orientation of the portraits differs in some editions. In the English, Lithuanian, and Macedonian version of the book, the portrait of Dante by an anonymous artist is looking towards the right.

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However, in the Arabic version of the book, a different portrait of Dante is used, the famous portrait done by Sandro Botticelli which is looking towards the left.


Both of theses portraits were painted way after the death of Dante. In both of theses portraits, the artists give Dante a laurel wreath on his head in recognition of his skill and influence in the arts. Both of theses portraits were actually painted years after the death of Dante. The different portraits were used due to the different sides that each portrait showed, Botticelli’s showed the left side of Dante’s face and the anonymous artist’s showing the right side of Dante’s face because the English language is read from left to right while the

Arabic language is read from right to left. In each of theses cultures, because of how the language is read, the eye looks at the book cover differently.  An English speaking person would start from the left and go to the right while an Arabic speaking person would be the vice versa. Dan Brown places emphasis on Dante’s nose knowing that the nose is draw inaccurately by Botticelli and the anonymous artist. The last thing that the readers will see in both book covers before starting the novel will be the famous aquiline nose of Dante.

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