Franz von Bayros’ Illustration of Inferno 14

XOT361807 Illustration from Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’, Inferno, Canto XIV. 28, 1921 (w/c on paper) by Bayros, Franz von (Choisy Le Conin) (1866-1924); Private Collection; German, out of copyright

Selections from Graba”s 2003 Divina Commedia

Selection from Divina Commedia – Inferno by Graba’

Selection from Divina Commedia – Purgatorio by Graba’

Selection from Divina Commedia – Paradiso by Graba’

View Graba”s full gallery here.

Tom Phillips’ Illustrated Inferno (1983)

In 1983, English artist Tom Phillips translated and illustrated his own version of Dante’s Inferno.

Phillips intended that his illustrations should give a visual commentary to Dante’s texts. As he writes in his notebook, ‘The range of imagery matches Dante in breath encompassing everything from Greek mythology to the Berlin Wall, from scriptural reference to a scene in an abattoir, and from alchemical signs to lavatory graffiti.’ And the range of modes of expression is similarly wide, including as it does, early calligraphy, collage, golden section drawings, maps, dragons, doctored photographs, references to other past artworks and specially programmed computer generated graphics.

“‘I have tried in this present version of Dante’s Inferno which I have translated and illustrated to make the book a container for the energy usually expended on large scale paintings… The artist thus tries to reveal the artist in the poet and the poet helps to uncover/release the poet in the artist.’”   —Notes on Dante’s Inferno, Tom Phillips’ website

Phillips also co-directed A TV Dante with Peter Greenaway in 1986.

Read more about Tom Phillips here.

 

Rauschenberg’s Dante in the Time of Pandemic

robert-rauschenberg-modern-inferno

“Dante’s three-part epic poem portrays the journey souls take after death. Essentially a socio-economic commentary on Florentine life, with strong moral undertones and focus on the human condition, its themes can be adapted to any time. Today, in the face of Covid-19, the 700-year-old Commedia resonates strongly. Now is a perfect time to reflect on the work through its visual depictions. Although countless artists have illustrated the work since its medieval publication – Sandro Botticelli, Gustave Doré, and John Flaxman, to name a few – modern artists have shown how its relevance lives on to this day. Perhaps the most progressive modern rendering of Dante’s epic to date is seen through the work of artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008).

“Dante is ambiguous in his writing on the Sodomites, reflecting the reticence surrounding the subject of homosexuality in his day. Rauschenberg mirrors this ambiguity in his illustration with an empty speech bubble beneath a red outline of his own traced foot. The tracing inserts Rauschenberg into the narrative just as Dante the Poet occasionally appears in the text, separate from Dante the Pilgrim, a personal touch that is seldom seen in Commedia illustrations.” [. . .]    —Flora Igoe, The Art Story Blog, 2020

See Rauschenberg’s full Inferno series here.

 

Illustration by Denis Forkas (2015)

“Study for Hypocrites (illustration for Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri/Inferno, Canto 23), after Francisco Goya after John Flaxman,” 2015

“We found, down there, a people painted bright.
Their tread, as round they went, was very slow,
weeping, worn down and seemingly defeated.”[. . .]   —
Study for Hypocrites, denisforkas.com, 2015

(trans. R. Kirkpatrick)

Matt Kish’s Inferno Illustrations (2020)

matt-kish-illustration-301-rom-73-fallen-angelsmatt-kish-illustration-028-attack-wrathful-attacking

“I have always been fascinated by the crude and vulgar spectacle of Inferno. Perhaps some of what follows is more personal than validated by scholarship, but despite his clear devotion to Christianity and deep and abiding belief in dogma, Dante seems to relish in his bizarre portrayal of the torments of Hell. I think I remember the poem was originally written in low, or street, Italian rather than formal language, because Dante wanted the tone to match the content and for the work to be something everyone could read. My experience growing up with comic books in particular was that they too were a kind of low, vulgar entertainment. Designed to titillate and provoke, but in no way were they deemed serious or valid art. There was a sort of dirty appeal to the comics I saw on the shelf in the grocery store, especially the pulpy black and white horror comic magazines like Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella. For my approach to Inferno, I wanted to borrow heavily from this lurid, brightly colored, sickly appealing visual style as well as the connotations of what comics seemed to be to my young mind. So this is mirrored in my painting style, which is very bright and graphic and employs linework over tone and value (essentially, I paint like one should draw, I don’t paint like one should paint) as well as in my collaging bits of text and image from comics into the illustrations.”    —Matt Kish (personal email communication, September 28, 2020)

You can check out the full series and Kish’s other works on his website.

“Dante’s Inferno” in Shadowrun

“The club is styled after the allegory of the nine circles of hell as described in the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, having nine dance floors with each floor going further down with each corresponding circle of hell. They also have a digital host with which offline members and online members can react with the aid of AR. The club’s digital menu is for simsense users and deliberately designed as a scroll, and the digital lounge is designed to simulate the feeling of live flames.”    —Shadowrun Wiki, February 2, 2015

Learn more about the Shadowrun series, first launched in 1989, here.

Jewelery Inspired by the Opening Lines of the Divine Comedy Contest Results

“The competition challenged BAJ students to design jewellery inspired by the opening lines of Dante Alighieri’s epic poem, the Divine Comedy.

‘Ultimately,’ wrote the BAJ in a statement, ‘the quality of submissions was so high that it was impossible to choose just one design, Alighieri said. Four students have therefore been selected as the competition’s winners.’

The winners of the BAJ X Alghieri competition are Dorottya Feher, Petra Otenšlégrová, Linnea Thuning and Emma Withington.”    –Sam Lewis, Professional Jeweller, August 4, 2020

Salvador Dali’s Stairway to Heaven – Fort Wayne Museum of Art

“The Salvador Dalí‘s Stairway to Heaven exhibit is comprised of illustrations originally made for two very different literary works: a 1934 edition of Les Chants de Maldoror, a prose-poem by Comte de Lautréamont, and a 1960 edition of Dante Alighieri’s the Divine Comedy. When Dalí created the first portfolio in the 1930s, he embraced Surrealism with its wildly imaginative dreamscapes. The lascivious lifestyle he and his wife led at this time is also evident in his work of the ’30s. By the time he illustrated Dante’s the Divine Comedy in the 1960s, Dalí had renounced Surrealism and become a born again Catholic. His personal life had shifted dramatically to embrace what he termed a divine or ‘mystical ecstasy’ which is evident in this second, celebrated portfolio.”    —Fort Wayne Museum of Art, June 13, 2020

“6 Downtown Dallas Museums Unveil Plans to Reopen After COVID-19 Shutdown”

“All exhibitions that were on display when the museum closed have been extended, and the special exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses, which was to have opened on March 15, will be available for view with the purchase of an additional ticket. It will now remain on view until July 4, 2021. Also opening on August 14 will be Dalí’s Divine Comedy, which showcases selections from Salvador Dalí’s most ambitious illustrated series: his colored wood engravings of the Divine Comedy.”    –Alex Bentley, CultureMap, August 10, 2020