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.

 

“The Books That Changed David Bowie’s Life” (2020)

john-oconnell-bowies-books-2020

“David Bowie was a voracious reader and made a list, three years before he died, of the 100 books that had changed his life. These had fuelled his creativity, shaped who he was, and they provide a new way of understanding him. For each book, John O’Connell provides a short, insightful essay and pairs it with a Bowie song. Perhaps surprisingly, only eight books are concerned directly with musical subjects, while 12 relate to various aspects of the visual arts. Some are about mental illness; his half-brother Terry had schizophrenia and died by suicide and Bowie battled depression. There are some interesting poetry choices such as Dante’s Inferno and Homer’s Iliad. Of the eclectic novel collection, some are predictable but many are certainly not, and black people’s and outsiders’ experiences characterise the non-fiction.” [. . .]    —Brian Maye, The Irish Times, March 7, 2020.

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.

 

Cesare

From Volume 2, Chapter 10, in Fuyumi Soryo’s 2005 manga series Cesare, which makes extensive reference to the Divine Comedy.

Learn more about Cesare 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

“The Most Harrowing Paintings of Hell Inspired by Dante’s Inferno

“Dante Alighieri’s depiction of the afterlife has inspired generations of readers since the Divine Comedy was first published in 1472. In the 14,233 verses of this poem, Dante envisions a trip to the afterlife, guided first by the Roman poet Virgil, who leads him through Hell and Purgatory, and then by his beloved Beatrice, who leads him through Paradise. His detail-rich descriptions of Hell, envisioned as nine concentric circles containing souls of those “who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen,” have inspired artists for the last five centuries. Here are some of the most poignant visualizations of Dante’s Inferno.

[. . .]

Stradanus, Canto VIII (1587-1588)

Flemish painter Jan van der Straet, known by his Italian name ‘Stradanus,’ completed a series of illustrations of the Divine Comedy between 1587 and 1588, currently preserved at the Laurentian Library in Florence. This illustration refers to Canto VIII, where the wrathful and slothful are punished. Stradanus combines elements of Italian Mannerism, such as painstaking attention to detail, with distinctive Flemish traits like the physiognomy of the demonic figure steering Dante’s boat, who shows a deeply harrowing expression.”    –V. M. Traverso, Aleteia, July 17, 2020