Empyrean by Alexandra Carr

Hell, Heaven and Hope: A Journey through life and the afterlife with Dante is now open to the public in the Palace Green Galleries at Durham. The exhibition features a fabulous range of copies of Dante’s works, as well as contemporary artwork. Alexandra Carr’s Empyrean features as part of the section of Paradise. Completed as part of Alexandra’s Leverhulme Trust Artist in Residence programme, the sculpture represents the spheres of the medieval universe, drawing on Grosseteste and Dante: sculpting with light on the grandest scale in the creation of the universe.”    —Ordered Universe, December 4, 2017

Waiting for Dante by Roger Williamson

“It was then she appeared, Beatrice, she who would show me, just in time, the illusion of the beast and the spell to return it to the glass.

Virgil, who was able to bring me into this world but not out of it, because of his own self imprisonment in it, began to fade from view and as he paled so Beatrice seemed to absorb his substance and morphed into my new guide.”    –Roger Williamson, Saatchi Art, October 24, 2015

Paradiso After Dante by Emma Haworth

Paradiso After Dante by Emma Haworth.

Garry Shead Online Art Gallery

Online gallery of artist Garry Shead’s Divine Comedy inspired work.

Check out our original post on Garry Shead here.

Bob Cimbalo at Other Side

“The Other Side, the neighbor and partner of South Utica’s popular Café Domenico, is currently hosting a ‘damned’ good show: a series of paintings depicting scenes from the Inferno, the first volume of the celebrated trilogy by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri.

The poem is organized into 34 cantos or chapters, and it describes the (fictional) journey Dante took through hell, his first stop on a three-volume tour of eternity that eventually landed him in paradise.

Bob Cimbalo, one of the region’s most accomplished artists, created one very engaging painting for each of Dante’s 34 Inferno cantos — an impressive artistic feat now on display for the first time in many years.

[. . .]

In Cimbalo’s depiction, the leaden cloaks of the hypocrites are strikingly stiff and angular, which to my eye immediately makes them look like they’re fashioned of metal— in contrast to other depictions of this scene, including one by the famous illustrator Gustave Doré, whose cloaks of these damned look much more like ordinary cloth. In Cimbalo’s depiction, you immediately sense the weight they’re carrying, even before you know what his painting is meant to depict.”    –Phil Bean, Observer Dispatch, March 16, 2020

Dante Window by Violet Oakley

Collection of Divine Comedy inspired work by artist Violet Oakley, kept by the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

“Celebrate Dante and Help Fight the Coronavirus”

 

“Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz has a heart for God. It’s evident in his works, such as ‘Homeless Jesus,’ his popular portrayal of Jesus sleeping on a park bench, and more recently, ‘Angels Unawares,’ Schmalz’ three-ton sculpture based on Hebrews 13:2. That latter sculpture, which depicts a boat carrying 140 migrants and refugees from periods of stress throughout recorded history, was unveiled by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square in September 2019.

“In Italy, March 25 [2020] was the first official ‘Dante Day’ — a day dedicated by the Italian government to celebrate the accomplishments of the Florentine poet who penned the long narrative poem titled The Divine Comedy. On that day, Schmalz introduced a new set of sculptures through an online book which will include a series of 100 sculptures, representing all 100 cantos in the Divine Comedy. Modern readers have found the existing translations of the Divine Comedy from the original Italian, including one translation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, somewhat cumbersome — so Schmalz is partnering with translator Daniel Fitzpatrick, who is working to produce an easy-to-read version that will appeal to a wide audience.

[. . .]

“Schmalz had originally intended for the book’s initial release to be in hardcover March 25, 2021, when the nation of Italy will celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death. That plan changed, however, when Schmalz became aware of the scope of the tragedy emerging in Italy due to the novel coronavirus. ‘As I was coming to my studio early last Friday,’ Schmalz told the Register, ‘I was listening to the news about the horrors and the tragedy that’s happening in Italy. I thought, “Isn’t it ironic? Here I am, creating this greatest hero of Italy, while Italy is going through such a horrible situation!” Then I put the two things together: I could use the book to help Italy!’

“Daniel Fitzpatrick, the translator, agreed, and plans were made to release the book of poetry and art in a series format, and to donate all proceeds from sales of the e-book to help the hospitals of Italy better care for their critically ill patients. For a donation of just $5, readers can sign up to receive two cantos each week — one on Wednesday and the second on Sunday — beginning with Dante’s first vision of the Inferno, and culminating in the Paradiso, in time for Italy’s 700th anniversary celebration.”    –Kathy Schiffer, National Catholic Register, March 30, 2020

See our original post about Timothy Schmalz here.

Dante 700 by Timothy Schmalz

“In September 2019, Timothy Schmalz’s ‘Angels Unawares,’ a life-size bronze sculpture commemorating the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, was installed in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass for the occasion.

Timothy is currently working on a new project to honor the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri in 2021. ‘I believe Dante is one of the greatest writers of all time. So, I thought I would do what has never been done before. I think this is an amazing opportunity to celebrate not only Dante, but Italian and European culture.’ He plans to sculpt each of Dante’s 300 cantos. The ‘Dante 700’ sculpture project will memorialize this significant anniversary with sculptures of each of the 100 cantos in the Divine Comedy. Very few artists ever represent more than the Inferno in their paintings and sculptures. This is a rare project that will show individual sculptures of all the cantos, including Purgatory and Paradise.

The project will include the cantos and a principal sculpture of Dante. Installed together and cast in bronze, the work will be dynamically represented in order to inspire people to actually read Dante. This sculpture project will also be used to create a new illustrated book of Dante in collaboration with a new translation, which will be finished for the anniversary year in 2021.”    —La Gazzetta Italiana, April 2020

“Thrift Store Wood Engraving Print Turns Out To Be Salvador Dalí Artwork”

“It’s pretty much the thrift store dream; to find a rare, long lost treasure on a crowded tchotchke shelf, on sale for a bargain price. That’s what happened at the Hotline Pink Thrift Shop in Kitty Hawk, N.C., when Wendy Hawkins came across an otherwise ignored piece of art.

[. . .]

The item turned out to be a 1950s woodcut print that was created and signed by Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. It is part of a series of 100 illustrations depicting Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, a 14th century Italian poem about the writer’s fictional journey from the deepest circles of hell, up the mountain of purgatory and finally to paradise.

[. . .]

Dalí was initially commissioned by the Italian government to make the series in honor Dante’s birthday celebration but outrage over a Spaniard taking on an Italian poet’s work led officials to drop it. However, the artist had become so taken by the project that he couldn’t let it go. In the end he created a series of 100 watercolor paintings — one for each chapter of Dante’s book — that were reproduced as wood engravings. Each of those required about 35 separate blocks to complete the image

[. . .]

It’s called Purgatory Canto 32 and it shows a woman in blue next to a man in red.”    –Vanessa Romo, NPR, March 10, 2020

“La Divina Commedia”: ceramic artist Lee Yun Hee

“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.