An anonymous artist/s’ work inspired byInferno (2016)

This series of 14 paintings–each painting paired with a quotation from the poem–begins as such:

“In 2016[1], a previously unknown manuscript of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy was discovered in Florence, Italy:  BNE[2] Ms. II I 928.   The discovery of this manuscript has reignited debate about the possible survival of the original version of Dante’s poem, written in his own hand.  Until now, the study of Dante’s poem has been based upon copies of the poem made after his death in 1321[3].  Scholars have found that the text of this newly discovered manuscript does not significantly differ from the other known copies of the Divine Comedy.  BNE Ms. II I 928 nonetheless has unique features.  Perhaps most remarkably, scholars have found that the text of the poem is written in a mirror script, i.e., from right to left.  This blog[4] is dedicated to dissemination[5] of news about the restoration and interpretation of the manuscript, undertaken in the historic Sala Manoscritti (Manuscript Room)[6] of the BNE in Florence.  –Beata Viatrix[7] “

This incipit is followed by explanatory footnotes (1-7).  The artist/s do not name themselves on the website where this is posted: Explicit Liber Erratus.

In an email we wrote to the contributor of this citing asking for clarification, “Beata Viatrix” responded as such: “Those of us who have studied the manuscript do not yet know who made its illustrations or when.   The ongoing restoration might in the future help to illuminate questions regarding authorship and historical interpretation.  We have already found some intriguing evidence of multiple hands in the manuscript.  Those hands are in various states of decomposition, so their usefulness for ultimately identifying the manuscript’s creators remains in question.”

Silk stole illustrations by Marco Brancato for Orequo

Illustrator Marco Brancato’s Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso silk stoles for the luxury Italian fashion company, Orequo.

Contributed by Angela Lavecchia

Group Exhibition of Dante Portraits (2021)

Riccardo Guasco

A group exhibition organized in Ravenna with the support of the Italian Consulate of Houston (TX) and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Los Angeles (CA) showcasing over 40 contemporary artists’ depictions of Dante.  The exhibition is titled “Drawing Dante: Uno, nessuno e centomila volti: Retrospective group exhibition” by Dante Plus.  A virtual tour can be seen on youtube here.  There is also an instagram feed of the portraits.

Contributed by Kate McKee (Bowdoin ’22)


How dancer Anuradha Venkataraman interpreted Dante through the Mahabharata

“When dancer Anuradha Venkataraman opted for a residency program with Instabili Vaganti, an Italian theatre company, she would have never expected that it would one day give her a chance to interpret one of Dante’s classics through the Mahabharata.

“A classical dancer for almost 25 years, Bengaluru-based Anuradha Venkataraman had been looking at ways to expand on language of Bharatanatyam for years. . . ‘to go beyond the traditional margams.’ [. . .].”   –Ruth Dhanaraj, The Hindu, March 24, 2021

Vasuki Shastry, Asia’s 8 Circles of Hell

“Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, Shastry takes readers on a journey through modern Asia’s eight circles of hell where we encounter urban cowboys and cowgirls fleeing rural areas to live in increasingly uninhabitable cities, disadvantaged teenage girls unable to meet their aspirations due to social strictures, internal mutiny, messy geopolitics from the rise of China, and a political and business class whose interests are in conflict with a majority of the population. Shastry challenges conventional thinking about Asia’s place in the world and the book is essential reading for those with an interest in the continent’s future.”    –From the book description, Amazon

Inferno: Dante’s Guide to Hell. The 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons in Italy

The cover of the new edition here.

The Kickstarter for the project here.  The site notes that  “Inferno is the first original Dantesque Campaign Setting for the 5th edition of the most important RPG ever created.”

Magnum X Dante– Limited edition ice cream pops inspired by the Comedy

Limited edition ice cream pops made in honor of the 700th anniversary od Dante’s death.  Purgatorio pop arriving in May-June, and Paradiso pop in July-August.

“Magnum, la più alta espressione del piacere nel mondo del gelato, celebra Dante con un omaggio alla sua Divina Commedia, la più alta espressione d’arte della storia della letteratura italiana.  A 700 anni dalla morte del Sommo Poeta, arrivano tre limited edition dedicate alle tre cantiche Dantesche, per vivere un’esperienza coinvolgente e sorprendente.  Un viaggio che inizia dal gusto intrigante dell’inferno, per poi assaporare la dimensione multi-sensoriale del purgatorio e raggiungere il suo apice con il piacere puro e delicato del paradiso.”   —Magnum

Contributed by Brandon Essary

Heidi Wastweet’s Dante Medal (2006)

Dante Inventing Beatrice 10″ x 13″ Cast Bronze Limited Edition of 20

“I challenge this romantic notion of love. I see this Beatrice we know as an invention of Dante’s imagination. Here Dante, near death, is remembering the young beautiful Beatrice as he conjured her, never even having had an intimate conversation or ever having touched her. Did he regret having constrained himself by other peoples’ standards? Or did it bring him peace to keep her safely, purely, in his head? Did she know? Did she love him back? As he lay dying he imagines she is on the other side waiting to greet him. His isolated hand reaches out longingly but touches her only on the very pages that he wrote.”   —Heidi Wastweet

Heidi Wastweet is a leading American Medallist and sculptor working in the San Francisco Bay area. In conjunction with a wide variety of private mints she has produced over 1000 coins, medals, and tokens since 1987. […]”.
American Medallic Sculpture Association

Contributed by Ying Zheng

Anthony Valerio, Dante in Love (2017)

Dante in Love is a modern re-telling of the immortal love story of Dante and Beatrice. The power and beauty of their original story of unrequited love shines through with new insights and accessible prose.”    —Amazon

See Anthony Valerio’s website for more information

“Why Dante, 700 years later, is still a hell of a journey,” Hindustani Times

A brief overview of Dante’s influence and impact on the arts and on people all over the world, and notes our own Dante Today:

[…] “The poem’s influences are so wide and far-ranging that three American universities have collaborated on a website to keep track of them all. Since 2006, Dante Today has been archiving every present-day reference to the poem, through “sightings” and “citings”. They’re pretty thorough, even adding a hot-sauce brand called 10th Circle to their archive last month.” […]    –Rachel Lopez, Hindustani Times, February 20, 2021