SCAD Museum of Art: “The Divine Comedy”

Muluneh Aida, 99 SeriesThe Savannah College of Art and Design’s museum featured an exhibit called “The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists” which ran from October 16, 2014 to January 25, 2015.

“SCAD presents the U.S. premiere of ‘The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists.’ Curated by the internationally acclaimed Simon Njami, this monumental exhibition explores the thematic sequences of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem through works by more than 40 contemporary artists from 19 African countries as well as the African diaspora. [. . .]

“Through a variety of media, this exhibition demonstrates how concepts visited in Dante’s poem transcend Western traditions and resonate with diverse contemporary cultures, belief systems and political issues. Overall, the exhibition provides a probing examination of life, death and the continued power of art to express the unspoken and intangible.”    —SCAD Museum of Art

The exhibition was later featured at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art, running from April 8 to August 2, 2015. The large exhibition was on display in the entrance pavilion, stairwells, and all three floors of the museum. See the National Museum of African Art’s exhibition page here, and Elena Goukassian’s review in the Washington Post here (April 16, 2015).

Barlowe’s Inferno (1998)

Wayne Barlowe‘s Barlowe’s Inferno is a book of images of hell.

“Best-selling science fiction and fantasy artist Wayne Barlowe abandons his popular illustrative style and adopts a classic painterly technique in these images of Hell’s structures, iconographies, and inhabitants. In ‘Barlowe’s Hell,’ he incorporates the visual myths from many religions to present a chilling and beautiful collection of carefully researched and rendered artwork whose bizarre images contain symbolic references to age-old beliefs and practices.”    —Amazon

Barlowe's Inferno

Rice & Beans Orchestra: “Dante’s Inferno” (2006)

Disco group Rice & Beans Orchestra released album “Dante’s Inferno” in 2006, though it was originally made in 1976. The album is a disco interpretation of Dante’s Inferno: “a disco-era extravaganza inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy“.

Rice and Beans Orchestra

Click here to listen to the first part of “Dante’s Inferno” on YouTube.

SwooshArt

Italian artist Davide Bedoni creates images of fine art as if sponsored by Nike.

“The Ghosts of Paolo and Francesca Appear to Dante and Virgil” by Ary Scheffer (1835): SwooshArt “Dante and Virgil in Hell” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1850): SwooshArt

 

Click here to view the images on tumblr.

Italian Two Euro Coin

Two Euro Coin

“The Italian design is a portrait of Dante Alighieri by Raphael. Dante was a poet in the Middle Ages and is considered the father of the Italian language while Raphael was a master artist and architect of the High Renaissance. The original portrait, part of the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, is in the Apostolic Palace of Vatican City. The coin was chosen through a televised contest involving a public phone in vote. The interpretation for the coin was engraved by Maria Carmela and it includes the interconnected letters IR (for Repubblica Italiana – Italian Republic), the year and the mint mark are shown to the left of Dante’s face.”    —Wikipedia, “2 euro coin”

The Veronica Mars Movie (2014)

VMarsDanteImage

In The Veronica Mars Movie, a spinoff of the television series Veronica Mars created by Rob Thomas, Veronica (Kristen Bell) returns to her hometown to solve a crime. At her ten-year high school reunion, she makes a Dante reference:

“In a lesser known epic poem, Dante’s Inferno 2: ‘Hell Freezes Over’, ten years after escaping the nine circles, Dante returns. You know, for old times’ sake. Have a couple shots, catch up with the gang [. . .] See if Lucifer is still a bitch.”    —The Veronica Mars Movie

Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain (1948)

The Seven Storey Mountain is Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s 1948 best-selling autobiography. The title refers to Dante’s Purgatory. The book made the National Review’s list of the best 100 non-fiction books of the 20th Century.

Seven Storey Mountain

Louis Nero, Il Mistero di Dante (2013)

<em>Il Mistero di Dante</em> PosterIl Mistero di Dante is a 2013 Italian film directed and written by Louis Nero.

“A journey in the footsteps of the most famous initiate of Italian Trecento, the author of the celebrated Divine Comedy. [. . .] Since the 19th century, many important scholars have tried to unfold the mystery hidden behind Dante’s terzine. During this voyage we will try to go one step further in the understanding of this secret. Our direction will be marked by the traces left by some of the most distinguished authorities in the field of the esoteric significance of Dante’s works. [. . .]

“The voice of a mysterious character interpreting Dante’s verses will help us delve into this subject. Two perspectives: the exoteric and the esoteric one.”    —IMDb

“Indagine su Dante Alighieri attraverso una serie di interviste ad intellettuali, artisti, massoni e uomini di fede che hanno il compito di guidare lo spettatore alla scoperta di un lato poco conosciuto del Padre della lingua italiana. L’analisi di passaggi nodali della Divina Commedia, continui riferimenti alla tradizione iniziatica occidentale, alle logge segrete, all’appartenenza o meno del Poeta ai ‘Fedeli d’Amore,’ ci accompagnano nei primi passi verso un approccio diverso ad una materia di studio sconfinata. [. . .]

“Comunque consigliabile a chi è completamente a digiuno del lato esoterico di Alighieri.”    —MyMovies.it

Francesco Gungui, Canti delle Terre Divise (2014)

canti-delle-terre-divise

Canti delle Terre Divise

Italian author Francesco Gungui completed the Canti delle Terre Divise trilogy this year: Inferno (2103), Purgatorio, and Paradiso (2014). Gungui’s young adult novels tell the story of Alec and Maj, two teenagers living in a dystopic city that resembles the landscape of The Divine ComedyGungui, a Milan native, is a popular young adult writer in Italy. The Canti delle Terre Divise series is his most recent work.

“Se sei nato a Europa, la grande città nazione del prossimo futuro, hai due sole possibilità: arrangiarti con lavori rischiosi o umili, oppure riuscire a trovare un impiego a Paradiso, la zona dove i ricchi vivono nel lusso più sfrenato e possono godere di una natura incontaminata. Ma se rubi o uccidi o solo metti in discussione l’autorità, quello che ti aspetta è la prigione definitiva, che sorge su un’isola vulcanica lontana dal mondo civile: Inferno.

“Costruita in modo da ricalcare l’inferno che Dante ha immaginato nella Divina Commedia, qui ogni reato ha il suo contrappasso. Piogge di fuoco, fiumi di lava, gelo, animali mostruosi rendono la vita difficile ai prigionieri che spesso muoiono prima di terminare la pena. Nessuno sceglierebbe di andare volontariamente a Inferno, tranne Alec, un giovane cresciuto nella parte sbagliata del mondo, quando scopre che la ragazza che ama, Maj, vi è stata mandata con una falsa accusa. Alec dovrà compiere l’impresa mai riuscita a nessuno, quella di scappare con lei dall’Inferno, combattendo per sopravvivere prima che chi ha complottato per uccidere entrambi riesca a trovarli…

“Il primo romanzo di una trilogia fantasy di grandissima potenza, scritta da uno degli autori italiani young adult più amati.”    —Amazon

Translation of The Divine Comedy with Illustrations (2007)

translation-divine-comedy-illustrations-2007“This new edition of Dante’s great work brings together for the first time the three volumes of the Hollander translation with the art of internationally recognized illustrator Monika Beisner. Beisner has created 100 detailed paintings for this publication, making her the first woman credited with illustrating the entire work. The set begins with an introduction by Carlo Carena and a foreword by Academy Award winning actor Roberto Benigni, known for his lectures and dramatic recitations of Dante’s poem. The third volume ends with an appreciation by writer and cultural historian Marina Warner entitled ‘Monika Beisner: Illuminating Stories.’ Warner writes, ‘The hundred miniatures took her seven years to complete and the achievement is dazzling. The present volume reproduces her work full-size, … with no strokes or drawing visible, but a pure glow of dense color, applied with brushes so small they consist of a half-dozen sable hairs.… Monika Beisner has been scrupulously loyal to Dante’s text, rendering gesture and position as described in the poem as well as its unsurpassed precision of spatial, geographical and temporal coordinates.’ ” [. . .]    —Oak Knoll Press