A Roman Emperor appears from the flames to tell Dante about the virtues of the Roman Empire and this conversation dominates the amended composition.
Canto essentially translated as song from Botticelli's native Italian. Each combination of text and illustation would be regarded as an individual song from Dante's Divine Comedy.
Each of the drawings in this series are numbered iteratively, with this particular work also sometimes referred to as Paradiso VI. They represent different regions of the planetary system, with darker scenes appearing from the depths of hell.
It was rare for famous artists to take on illustration commissions during the Renaissance and Botticelli's completed work was not well received by art academics. In the modern era, however, much more respect is given to literature illustrations and this series of work is also prominently displayed in Berlin, Germany.
The purchase of these drawings proved politically sensitive in the UK where the previous owner was forced to sell them due to large accrued debts. Despite the involvement of several key figures across the country to try to prevent the sale, they passed onto Germany where they remain today.