Australian Painter Garry Shead Finds Divine Inspiration in Dante

“Gregorian chants play softly and a curl of incense drifts high into the air at Garry Shead’s studio in Bundeena on the coast of the Royal National Park.

“For almost five months, Shead, one of Australia’s best-known figurative painters, has been grappling with a new series based on Dante Alighieri’s poem, The Divine Comedy. Invoking the spirit of the 700-year-old poet has been “terribly difficult”. He grimaces as he recalls stepping up to the blank canvas every morning, regardless of whether he felt like it or not.” […]    –Ali Gripper, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 12, 2014

 

“Wandering from the Straight Path of Clarity,” review of “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists”

“You may feel, at times, as if you’ve been handed a map, and then told that the map may or may not be accurate, may or may not relate to anything in the real world, may or may not be entirely a fiction, or a random design concocted by some clever trickster to mislead you. That is how the title of a new show at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art — ‘The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists’ — relates to the work on view, by more than 40 artists from 18 African countries.

“The exhibition is shoehorned into spaces not quite big enough for anything to breathe comfortably, filling temporary galleries, stairwells and passage spaces on four floors of the mostly subterranean museum. The current exhibition, curated by Simon Njami, is slightly smaller than the original Dante exhibition he presented in Frankfurt last spring, but it still sprawls, both in its physical layout (the route through its various rooms requires careful navigation) and intellectually.

“Consider one of the best works in the show, a large-scale drawing by Julie Mehretu, in which a finely etched suggestion of architectural facades is overlaid with a storm of delicate lines, smudges and erasures. In the catalogue, published in conjunction with the Frankfurt display, her work is listed as belonging to the ‘Purgatory’ part of the presentation; in Washington, it is in the ‘Inferno’ room. It isn’t the only work to migrate from one celestial realm to another, and those migrations suggest that the basic template borrowed from Dante is not to be taken too seriously.” […]    –Phillip Kennicott, The Washington Post, April 17, 2015

See also our post on the first iteration of Njami’s exhibition, featured at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s museum.

“Where is Haven of Dante today?”

“Some years ago, I entered a contest put on my Platinum Studios which would award it’s winner a contract with their publishing arm. The property was what became the graphic novel, Haven. If you’re not familiar with the property, you can find out more by clicking here.

“I’ve told the story before about how it started out as a prose novel when Markosia Enterprises took notice of it and wanted to produce it as a graphic novel. But between the time I had written the treatment and the time Markosia took interest, I had entered it into the aforementioned contest. Unfortunately, it didn’t win but that’s OK. What I did win in the process was an awesome friendship that has lasted years with who was one of the top dogs of Platinum Studios at the time, Dan Forcey. If you don’t know Dan, he’s a Co-Producer of Cowboys & Aliens. Dan’s been an awesome source of encouragement for me over the years and loves the property.

“So do I.

“I’m not trying to sound like an egomaniac but like most writers I do pour out my heart and soul into a project so that it is relatable and has depth, purpose and in this case, history. The Dante’s history span centuries so this is a story that could go on forever. And there is still lots of story to tell. As with all new properties, it’s a tough sale….especially with a female protagonist. Don’t ask me why, you’d be preaching to the choir about that one.” […]    –Leonardo Ramirez, “Where is Haven of Dante today?,” Leonardoverse, August 2019

The SEC vs. Cryptocurrency: From Dante to Facebook

“The Securities and Exchange Commission, the multibillion dollar agency that safeguards investors, presently stands on the precipice of the layer Dante reserved for the indecisive. For, nearly a decade after Bitcoin burst onto the scene in 2010, there has been no concrete attempt at delineating purchaser from investor in the cryptocurrency market—indeed, it appears the agency is content to provide guidance regarding fraud and custody rather than defining products and attendant responsibilities for those soliciting funds for digital conversion.

“In the 14th century, Dante Alighieri forever shaped our vision of a retributive afterlife with his Divine Comedy. Tellingly, the first “level of hell” introduced therein was populated by those who could not decide (‘those who lived without occasion for infamy or praise’); to the celebrated Renaissance poet, those habiting the sidelines of history could hope for limbo, at best, in the final judgment.” […]    –J. Scott Colesanti, New York Law Journal, July 31, 2019

BioWare Animator Creates Gorgeous ‘Dante’s Inferno’ Short Film

“BioWare animator Tal Peleg released a new animated (NSFW) short film based on Visceral Games’ 2010 action title ‘Dante’s Inferno’ on Sunday.

“The game was loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s long narrative poem The Divine Comedy. But, it reimagines the poet as a Templar knight who goes on a bloody journey through the nine circles of Hell to rescue Beatrice from Lucifer.

“Peleg created his first ‘Dante’s Inferno’ fan fiction short four years ago. As a lover of both fantasy/medieval art and action-RPGs, he said in a recent behind-the-scenes blog post the game couldn’t have come out at a better time.” […]    –Stefanie Fogel, Variety, November 20, 2018

 

Dante’s Divine Comedy: A journey without end, by Ian Thomson

“IAN THOMSON is a travel writer, and here he attempts the most ambitious journey of all in the company of Dante — ‘to hell and back’, as he puts it in his heading to the introduction. He is well aware that the Divine Comedy was written a long time ago, in medieval Italian, and in a world remote in many of its assumptions from those that he expects his readers to share; so he sets about providing a bridge to take them there.

“His second chapter is a biography of Dante, set in the context of the warfare of Guelfs and Ghibellines in Dante’s Florence, which he sketches with a knowledgeable eye on modern Italian politics. There follows an exploration of the Beatrice story and the place that she — or the idea of her — played in Dante’s emotional and intellectual development as he grew up, and became a poet. Then come chapters on the explosive Florentine political scene where the young Dante was worsted, and from which he went into exile.” […]    –G.R. Evans, Church Times, November 30, 2018

Reviewed: Dante’s Divine Comedy by Ian Thomson

“Ian Thomson’s eclectic and erudite romp through the work of Dante Alighieri – born in Florence in 1265, died in Ravenna in 1321 – features sharp observations and piquant elucidations concerning Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy) and its author.

“Thomson sets the tone from the off, beginning with an amusing epigraph which ran in Private Eye in December 2017, a `Very Late News’ about how the 14th century Italian poet Dante Alighieri and how he would be glad to see the back of that year, saying  ‘Phew, I’ve been trapped in this circle of hell for so long, I can’t wait to get out of it.’

“As for the matter in hand, this welcome book – whose subtitle is A Journey Without End  – is no skit, despite the Private Eye reference. Dorothy L Sayers offers a more relevant reflection on the work of the great Florentine in another epigraph to the work. ‘To understand Dante is not, of course, necessary to believe what he believed, but it is, I think, necessary to understand what he believed.’

“There have been myriad translations in English of Divina Commedia including a recent offering from Clive James, which appears to have won some and lost some fans – a quote from Ciaran Carson’s version is favoured instead for the back cover.” […]    –Paddy Kehoe, RTE, January 14, 2019

“Circles of Hell… A Dysfunctional Family Tree of British Cinematic Misery”

Film Comment 47.6 (November/December 2011), pp. 40-41

Film Society of Lincoln Center

The 10th Circle of Hell: Bathing Suit Shopping

“With spring break right around the corner and, dare we say it, summer on its way, the day of reckoning is inching dangerously closer.

“We all know the horror, the shame. Our heads are bowed, shoulders sagging, arms hanging limply at our sides as we enter the store. Walls of brightly patterned spandex and neoprene tease us with possibility.  Push-up, bandeau, triangle, bikini, tankini, one-piece, board shirt, options, options, options…The 10th circle of hell.” […]    –Leslie Conway, Better After 50, March 14, 2014

The 9 Circles of Girls’ Clothing Hell

“Before your teenage daughter sighs, rolls her eyes and tells you she’ll only wear Hollister, you will be in charge of making clothing choices.

“Treasure this time of sartorial lack-of-autonomy, because it is fleeting.

“As the parent of a girl, one of the first decisions you’ll get to make is ‘Do I care whether people think my newborn infant is a boy or a girl or a genderless loaf of bread?’ Welcome to…The First Circle of Hell: Infant Implements of Discomfort.” […]    –Josette Plank, Scary Mommy, January 2017