Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An, Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante (2006)

“This extraordinary painting depicting 103 figures from world history in striking detail has become the latest internet hit.

“Message boards have erupted with contests to identify all those featured, who range from instantly recognisable figures like Gandhi to some more obscure figures such as Liu Xiang, the Chinese hurdler who limped out of the Beijing Olympics in the summer.

“An element of mystery also surrounds that origins of the picture, which appears to have drawn inspiration from Raphael’s Renaissance fresco The School of Athens. [. . .]

“Another clue comes from the three undistinguished men in contemporary dress who survey the scene from behind a wall at the top right of the picture.

“Internet detectives have identified these three as little-known Chinese/Taiwanese artists named as Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An.

“They created the oil painting – titled Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante – in 2006, although it has only become a viral internet hit in the past few weeks.

“Alastair Sooke, art writer at The Daily Telegraph, said that the work reflected a trend of contemporary Chinese artists adopting Western styles and subjects.

“‘But the Dante reference makes us wonder whether we are looking at some nether-circle deep inside the Inferno: this is a vision of Celebrity Hell,’ he added.”    —Matthew Moore, London Daily Telegraph, 16 March 2009

dai-dudu-li-tiezi-and-zhang-an-discussing-the-divine-comedy-with-dante-2006-crop Click here to view a high-resolution, annotated version of the painting. Dante may be seen with his Commedia in the upper right hand corner of the painting, standing among the three artists.

Randall Graham and Alex Gross, “Da Vino Commedia”


See the full text of Bonny Doon Vineyard’s “The Vinferno.”

Also cited at Mae’s Cafe and Bakery in Bath, Maine by Anna Schember (Bowdoin, ’12).

Tage Danielsson, “Mannen Som Slutade Roka” (“The Man Who Quit Smoking”) (1972)

tage-danielsson-mannen-som-slutade-roka-the-man-who-quit-smoking-1972“Young Dante Alighieri inherits 17 million of his father the sausage maker on one condition – he has to give up smoking in 14 days. But the days go on and he simply can’t quit. He hires a detective agency to physically stop him. He has an uncle, who inherits the money if Dante fails, and the uncle tries to keep him smoking.”    –Mattias Thuresson, IMDb

Viewing the process as a kind of personal hell, this Dante has much in common with his Florentine namesake – including a love interest named Beatrice.

Stan Brakhage, “The Dante Quartet” (1987)


“The Dante Quartet is in fact the end result of Brakhage’s almost lifelong fascination with The Divine Comedy. It is a brief but spectacular filmic attempt to find a visual equivalent or rhyme for the four stages of the ascent from hell depicted by Dante: divided into ‘Hell Itself,’ ‘Hell Spit Flexion,’ ‘Purgation,’ and ‘Existence is Song.’ For Brakhage, this visualization is achieved by ‘bringing down to earth Dante’s vision, inspired by what’s on either side of one’s nose and right before the eyes: a movie that reflects the nervous system’s basic sense of being.’ Thus, his vision of Dante is experiential, grounded in the transformative realities of earthly existence; for Brakhage ‘heaven’ or ‘god’ is to be found in the physical reality or materiality of the world.”    –Adrian Danks, Senses of Cinema, July 2004

Ty Templeton, “Stig’s Inferno” (1980s)

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This 1980s series ran for 8 volumes and was loosely based on Dante’s Inferno. See the full book at Templetons.