“Dr. Alvis has led us with the right blend of overview patterns and delicious historical tidbits as he weaves the narrative of Dante’s Renaissance world through its fragmented political entities, community structures, waves of republican and tyrannical governments, along with the artists and architects that illuminate the countless points of light on this complex palate. At the center of all is the narrative of Dante himself, and both the secular and religious references and implications of his works.” –Montrose School, In the Footsteps of Dante 2018, June 22, 2018
“His mission, which he pursued with a zealous intensity, was to liberate the eye from such ‘prescribed’ ways of seeing. The insect wings, twigs, and fragments of flowers and leaves that he applied directly to strips of 16mm film in Mothlight (1963) and 35mm in The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981); the streaks and globs of paint that seem to shine with an inner illumination in films like The Dante Quartet (1987); the arcs of light that bend around the underwater surfaces of Boulder Creek in Commingled Containers (1996): Brakhage’s films train you to look at the world as if it were—as he wrote in the first paragraph of his 1963 book Metaphors on Vision—’alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement.’
[. . .]
“In these cases, figurative footage occasionally still appeared in odd and unexpected settings—one section of The Dante Quartet was painted over what Brakhage identified as ‘a worn-out 70mm print of Irma la Douce.'” –Max Nelson, The New York Review of Books, June 8, 2017
“Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta appraised by Dante and Virgil (1835)
“This work by Ary Scheffer depicts a scene from Dante’s Inferno, but not just any scene. In it, Dante and Virgil can be seen watching Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta in hell. The reason they’re in hell? Infidelity. The pair fell in love and carried on affair, despite both being married. Upon finding out, Francesca’s husband, who also happened to be Paolo’s brother, murdered them.” —
“It’s hard to place a finger on the most recognizable reference to Gustave Doré’s incredible illustrations in the Dark Souls series. The artist, who in a short 50 year life span produced over 100,000 pieces, and illustrated many of the great works of world literature, haunts many a crooked corner of Lordran, Drangleic, and Lothric. Flicking through his illustrations for Dante Alighieri’s great masterwork The Divine Comedy (1320), it is impossible not to be reminded of the landscapes and demons of Dark Souls. On top of a sheer rock wall we see a clutch of figures, huddled like the Deacons of the Dark. In a shallow pool lie piles of corpses, twisted into an inseparable mess, like the horrible sights that await in the drained ruins of New Londo. The great king Nimrod chained, now a giant and no longer a man, echoes the lost ruler of Drangleic. It is no surprise that it is the first book of The Divine Comedy, Inferno, depicting Dante’s journey through hell, that brings us these images. Doré’s bleak, stony, and understated depictions of Satan’s kingdom so strongly contrasted with decades of medieval hellfire that had gone before. They are powerfully mythic images, ones that have been reached for again and again by artists in search of the power of the dark.
“Though iconic now, the success of Inferno was never assured. Many of Doré’s supporters called it too ambitious and too expensive a project, and so, in 1861, driven by his passion for the source material he funded its publication himself. His risk paid off, and the volume and its subsequent sister volumes Purgatorio and Paradiso, depicting purgatory and Heaven respectively, became his most notable works. A critic at the time of its publication wrote that the illustrations were so powerful that both Dante and Doré must have been ‘communicating by occult and solemn conversations the secret of this Hell plowed by their souls, traveled, explored by them in every sense.’ This plumbing of the depths of despair in search of beauty is the true thematic link between these illustrations and Dark Souls art. Like the monsters of Kuniyoshi, in Doré we don’t just see the aesthetic roots of Dark Souls, we see its themes—the concepts of loss, despair, and the allure of the occult sketched out in chiaroscuro black-and-white.” [. . .] –Gareth Damian Martin, Kill Screen, May 11, 2016.
“Lee Yun Hee weaves Eastern and Western influences to offer a contemporary re-interpretation of both aesthetic and literary traditions, constructing a fantasy world that speaks of hope, strength and determination.
“Young ceramic artist Lee Yun Hee (b. 1986, South Korea) majored in Ceramics at both BFA and MFA levels at Seoul’s Hong Ik University. Lee calls herself a collector. What she collects are everyday stories of the common people, about their desires and wants, their fears and anxiety, and ultimately ‘the cure’ they seek to overcome the challenges and difficulties of life. There is much that she can relate to during her collections, for she is after all also human. Yet, it is not the hardships she clings to, but those ‘cures’ that each person resorts to. [. . .]
“Lee created her latest series entitled ‘La Divina Commedia‘ in 2013. Her inspiration came from Divina Commedia (Divine Comedy), the renowned 14th century epic poem by Italian poet and writer Dante Alighieri. The literary work recounts Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. In Lee’s contemporary take, the heroine of the story is a young girl who runs against all odds to overcome the trials and tribulations of life.” [. . .] —Art Radar, August 11, 2015.
To view more of Lee’s ceramic artwork, you can visit her website.
Contributed by Anita Verna Crofts.