“Fantastic this work, certainly dating back to the lockdown in March  and unfortunately already in an advanced stage of deterioration. Protagonist Dante Alighieri, acknowledged father of Italian literature and language, author of the Divine Comedy, dressed as always in red and crowned with laurel. Arrested as caught without a mask by a policeman with an anti-Covid 19 mask (with an American uniform?) and by another figure in a spacesuit (an astronaut?), also with a mask! Live-size pictures. Many metaphors can be ventured! Florence, via delle Seggiole.” —Arte Leonardo blog, Leonardo da Vinci Art School
“In his poem Inferno, Dante travels through nine separate circles of human suffering on his journey towards spiritual salvation. Now I’m no major Italian poet, nor am I on a quest to save my soul, allegorically or spiritually. In fact, I haven’t even read Inferno, which is part of the epic poem the Divine Comedy, since the first time I trudged through (parts of) it in college, but I am a Mommy of three little kids. I have learned that motherhood is both divine and, often, a comedy….and yes, there is suffering. Hoo-boy is there suffering. I think, had Dante been a Mommy, his Nine Circles of Hell may have looked a bit different…but no less dreadful.
[. . .]
“Dante had to figuratively travel through hell and back before enjoying the peace that came at the end of his journey. I guess that’s the point of Mommy’s Inferno….that the inescapable moments of suffering we endure as mommies makes us stronger, better equipped to handle the challenges that come next, and more ready to enjoy the light of the good days that always follow the darkest nights of motherhood.
“So don’t ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter’ motherhood; for, though the hours and days of motherhood be long, the years are short…or so I hear.” –Sarah Harris, “Mommy’s Inferno,” Scary Mommy (published May 21, 2010; updated December 2, 2020)
Read the nine circles of Scary Mommy’s Inferno here.
French singer-songwriter Héloïse Adélaïde Letissier (AKA Christine and the Queens) released their electropop EP La vita nuova on February 27, 2020. The album’s title makes explicit reference to Dante’s text La vita nuova. The album was accompanied by a short film featuring Christine and her relationship with a mysterious figure known as “The Faun”.
Watch the short film and listen to the EP here.
Read a review of the EP, posted on Pitchfork, here.
Italian musicians Claver Gold and Murubutu released their collaborative album Infernum (stylized Infernvm) on March 31, 2020. The hip-hop/rap album features songs that make reference to characters and features of Dante’s Inferno including “Paolo e Francesca”, “Antinferno”, “Ulisse”, and “Selva Oscura”. This album will be discussed by scholar Francesco Ciabattoni in his contribution to the forthcoming volume Dante Alive.
For more information about the album, view its Discogs entry here.
The complete album can also be found on a playlist here.
Hexperos’ 2020 release, “Midway Upon the Journey of Our Life” draws inspiration from Canto I of the Inferno.
“‘Midway upon the journey of our life, we could found ourselves within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.’ Never there was a sentence more apt to describe the disturbance we all feel at some point of our lives, when we feel lost, empty and we don’t know if the road that we have chosen, the journey of life undertaken, is actually the right one for us.
“The songs are stories of life, of sharing as well as in the Divine Comedy. As a matter of fact, who is in pain, often makes new encounters, shares their stories, through sharing and listening to the experiences of others we grow, we find a light in the darkness.” [. . .] — Alessandra Santovito, Hexperos
Listen to the song here.
Learn more about Hexperos on their website, here.
Album art by Nicolás Menay