“Dante and Virgil Attend an Exhibition,” Caricatures by Antonio Manganaro at Princeton University

“Since Dante’s Divine Comedy (Divina Commedia) first appeared in 1320, visual artists have been rethinking Dante’s trip into hell with Virgil as his guide. Eugène Delacroix chose the subject for his first major painting, The Barque of Dante, also known as Dante and Virgil in Hell, which introduced the artist at the Salon of 1822. A few years later, William Blake drew visions of the Divine Comedy in London while G.G. Macchiavelli did the same in Bologna. William-Adolphe Bouguereau painted Dante and Virgil in Hell in 1850; Edgar Degas finished Dante and Virgil at the Entrance to Hell in 1858; and Gustave Doré financed his own Inferno in 1861, finishing the trilogy in 1868.

“In the wake of Doré’s popularity, the Italian caricaturist Antonio Manganaro (1842-1921) translated Dante’s epic to his own era, imagining what would happen if Dante and Virgil attended the opening of The International Maritime Exhibition held in Naples in 1871. Manganaro’s rare lithographic volume, recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection, includes plenty of ghosts, fish, and wine.” — “Dante and Virgil Attend an Exhibition,” Website of the Graphic Arts Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, Firestone Library, Princeton University (May 20, 2017)