Theo Wujcik’s “Gates of Hell” (1987)

“One of Tampa Bay’s best-known artists, Theo Wujcik (1936-2014), spent a decade creating a series drawn from the dark and profound literary classic, Dante’s Inferno. Now, those extraordinary paintings are the theme for Theo Wujcik: Cantos, a special exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. This exhibition celebrates the work of Theo Wujcik (1936–2014), with a focus on the literary references in his work. A fixture of the Ybor City art scene, Wujcik was an accomplished master printer and painter whose expansive practice engaged deeply with art historical tradition and the global contemporary art world.

“This exhibition will premiere the Museum’s newest accession of Wujcik’s work, the diptych Gates of Hell (1987), which complements Canto II (1997), also in the collection. Both of these paintings are based on Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s (1265–1321) Inferno, the first part of the epic poem Divine Comedy. Also featured will be selections from the artist’s personal notebooks, collage studies, and a number of select loans.”  —Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, 2019

Learn more about Theo Wujcik’s exhibition here.

“The List: The nine circles of Columbus Hell”

Editor at Columbus Alive constructs Columbus, Ohio’s own version of Dante’s Circles of Hell.

“Who needs Dante? Let ‘Alive’ lead you down into the darkness.

“The Hell City Tattoo Fest, which celebrates everything ink-drenched, begins on Friday, April 26, and runs through Sunday, with action centered Downtown at the Hyatt Regency (visit hellcity.com for more information). With that in mind, and in the spirit of Dante’s Inferno, we thought we’d assemble our own, localized Circles of Hell,”   –Andy Downing, Columbus Alive, 2019

Read the full article here.

Seventh Circle Hot Sauces

seventh-circle-hot-sauce-2019“Seventh Circle is a boutique hot sauce brand focused on unique flavor combinations, natural ingredients, and small batch production. The name is derived from Dante’s Inferno. In this story, the seventh circle of hell is reserved for those who have committed violence. Hot sauce fiends could be seen as committing violence upon themselves. Through texture, color, and imagery I wanted to create a cohesive brand that represents it’s namesake and would be attractive to hot sauce aficionados. The first step in creating the brand was constructing a logo. The logo is the vehicle that drives a brand, and is part of all touch points. In exploring the logo, I wanted to create a mark that was easily recognizable and conveyed the brand’s messaging in a simple but clever way. The phrase ‘You reap what you sow’ stuck out in my mind, as the seventh circle of hell is for those who have committed violence, and in this case on themselves. I went with the scythe, and illustrated it to be in the shape of the number seven.” [. . .]    —Jake Neece Design and Illustrations, 2019.

Twitter is the 45th Circle of Hell

“Unknown to Dante, there is a 45th circle of Hell known as ‘Twitter.’ It used to take 140 steps to get there, but after the expansion of residents it is now 280 paces to reach your destination. To be sure, calling this beloved social media network the 45th level of Hell is quite an accusation, and I must support it with evidence. Well, these days I should at least try to support it with evidence. Come to think of it, who needs evidence when I have Twitter? Alas, I will do my best to use logic. This will make one time in a row.” [. . .]    — Ian Winer, Medium, August 2, 2019.

 

A.J. Hackwith, The Library of the Unwritten (2019)

A Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith tells the story of a librarian and her assistant from the ‘Unfinished Book’ wing of the library of Hell tracking down escaped characters from the books, attempting to meet their authors or change their stories. Towards the beginning of the story, as they are about to depart the library of hell for Earth so they can track down an escaped character, a figure appears and quotes most of the inscription which is written on the gate of Hell in Dante’s Inferno.”   –Contributor Robert Alex Lee

Here is the synopsis of the 2019 novel, from Penguin Random House: “In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

“Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

“But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil’s Bible. The text of the Devil’s Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell….and Earth.”   —Penguin Random House

Contributed by Robert Alex Lee (Florida State University ’21)

Reviewed: Thomas Adès’ “Inferno” (2019)

mark-swed-review-wayne-mcgregor-inferno-touch-2019“Thomas Adès’ ‘Inferno,’ the first half of what will eventually be a full-length Dante ballet, makes an uproarious heaven of hell. An equal-opportunity score, it offers wry reasons for celebrating our vices — be we among the selfish, gluttonous, suicidal, deviant, papally pretentious; be we illicit lovers, pollsters (the fortune-tellers), hypocrites, thieves, lost souls of one sort or another, satanic majesties or, yes (thanks for thinking of us, Tom), critics.

“It proved the most ambitious and electrifying of more than five-dozen commissions celebrating the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s just-completed centennial season and a bonanza for choreographer Wayne McGregor. In an exceptional collaboration among the Royal Ballet, the L.A. Phil and the Music Center, the staged “Inferno” had its premiere at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion over the weekend in a production for which celebrated British artist and filmmaker Tacita Dean created the design. The composer conducted with the L.A. Phil in the pit.” [. . .]    –Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, July 14, 2019.

 

Taemin, Music Video for “Want” (2019)

“At the end of the ‘WANT’ music video (3:03-3:19) by K-pop artist Taemin, the choreography takes place in front of [Rodin’s] gates of hell.”   –Contributor Parker Ridaught

“Want” was the title track and first single from Taemin’s second album, released in February 2019. The full video is available to view on YouTube.

Contributed by Parker Ridaught (Florida State University ’20)

Matthew Pearl, “What Writers Can Learn From Dante—Seriously, From Dante”

matthew-pearl-what-writers-can-learn-from-dante“As a reader and writer, I was always drawn to historical fiction; later, I added writing narrative nonfiction to my interests, often with a historical bent. Dante’s Comedy projects a variety of lessons in those arenas. Dante recruits mythological and historical figures and mixes them into a high stakes story filled with danger and risk, much like we often do in historical fiction. In the process, Dante sometimes reshapes our perspective on those figures. Ulysses, for example, appears during Dante’s trek through hell, and Ulysses’s brief monologue marks one of the most striking versions of that character outside of Homer. Dante, of course, was not perfect, and his refashioning of his own persona through the course of the poem conceals some of his questionable life choices, including his failure to try to reunite with his wife and family after his political exile. As modern readers, we also have to contend with the fact that Dante’s attitudes toward other religions (outside of Catholicism, and an idiosyncratic version of Catholicism, at that) is very problematic.

“Purgatory is the middle child of Dante’s poem, sandwiched between the terrors of hell’s punishments and the heights of salvation in heavenly paradise. But Purgatory was always my personal favorite canticle (Dante’s term for each of the three sections). This canticle contains the most dramatic storytelling structure, in which Dante must carve out an independent track from his mentor Virgil (one of the historical and literary figures recruited into the story), and must rediscover his lost love, Beatrice (another historical figure). Beatrice’s appearance is one of the more surprising moments of the whole poem. I still have the first copy of Purgatory I read in college, and I remember reading the scene in which we finally meet Beatrice while on the edge of my seat.” [. . .]    –Matthew Pearl, Crime Reads, September 16, 2019.

Check out more of Matthew Pearl’s work here.

Jasmine Serna’s Measuring Love with Cups

“One of the most profound ways I’ve learned to see the world is based off a lesson in a class I took about Dante’s The Divine Comedy. My professor Dr. Glyer was explaining Dante’s vision of heaven in Paradiso.

“She brought up many different sized cups to the front of the classroom — some were tall and skinny, others short and wide, some small, others big. She explained that the cups represented each person’s capacity to love. The bigger the cup, the bigger the capacity to love.

“She explained that our cups were always changing while we’re alive. All of our little daily actions — from returning an item someone dropped, to listening to a friend in need, to showing patience for children — increase or decrease our cup size.

“Then she explained that in Dante’s spheres of heaven, the cup size we end up with at the end of our lives determines where we’ll end up in heaven. No matter our cup size, though, all of our cups will be completely full.”   –Jasmine Serna, Medium, 2019

Robert King on CBS’s Evil (2019)

CBS-TV-Series-Evil-2019-Season-1-Colter-Herbers-MandviIn an interview about the CBS series Evil (2019), showrunner Robert King made reference to the show’s resonance with Dante’s Inferno:

“Having the potential of 60 evil friends opens the show up to the possibility of a string of guest stars. This also gives the writers a good opportunity to go into the wide variety of types evil the Kings want to examine in society. ‘Some may be in the White House. Some may be in ICE. There are elements of evil all around so it’s a great world to explore. Dante had so much fun putting people in hell,’ Robert King extrapolated tongue-in-cheek.”  –Heather Taylor, “Exploring the Roots of Evil, a New Series on CBS,” Script Magazine (October 28, 2019)

See also the appearance of Doré’s Inferno illustrations in S01E07, posted here.