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

Fritz Koenig, “Paolo und Francesca” (1958)

Among German sculptor Fritz Koenig’s oeuvre one finds a number of works that take inspiration from Dante, particularly mediated through Rodin’s sculpture groups in his Gates of Hell. Below, “Paolo und Francesca” from 1958.


Photo credit Heinz Theuerkauf (Flickr)

Koenig’s work was celebrated with a retrospective at the Gallerie degli Uffizi in 2018.

Contributed by Jessica Beasley (Florida State University, 2018)

Go, Went, Gone (2015 novel by Jenny Erpenbeck)

“Would you like to read something while I’m getting lunch ready? Rufu says: Si, volontieri. The only book in Italian that Richard owns is Dante’s Divine Comedy. For years he’d been planning to read it in the original, but at some point the plan slipped his mind. For years, the Italian dictionary has stood beside it on his shelf. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita/mi ritrovai per una selva oscura/ché la diritta via era smarrita. He can still recite the opening lines in Italian from memory. Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wood, the right road lost. Maybe not such a bad choice after all, he thinks, and hands the refugee — who’s gone a half a world astray — the burgundy-linen bound first volume.” — Jenny Erpenbeck, Go, Went, Gone (2015). Trans. from the German by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions, 2017).

See Adam Kirsch’s review of the novel, a fiction about the impact of the refugee crisis on European and global politics, here.

Contributed by Pete Maiers

Hipsters in Hell (2014)

hipsters webcomic vom baur
“The Hipsters in Hell storyline is the perfect way to end the series. Leo dies, and a distraught Nike charges through the gates of Hell to find him. What they discover is patterned after Dante’s Inferno, only specialized for hipsters. There are punishments for wearing vintage tees that were bought new and at full price — then lying that they were picked up at a thrift shop. Women who got those mustache tattoos on their fingers get tossed in a mud pit with the men for having ironic mustaches.”   –Larry Cruz, “I was into Hipsters before it got a book,” Comic Book Resources, May 21, 2014

Translation of The Divine Comedy with Illustrations (2007)

translation-divine-comedy-illustrations-2007“This new edition of Dante’s great work brings together for the first time the three volumes of the Hollander translation with the art of internationally recognized illustrator Monika Beisner. Beisner has created 100 detailed paintings for this publication, making her the first woman credited with illustrating the entire work. The set begins with an introduction by Carlo Carena and a foreword by Academy Award winning actor Roberto Benigni, known for his lectures and dramatic recitations of Dante’s poem. The third volume ends with an appreciation by writer and cultural historian Marina Warner entitled ‘Monika Beisner: Illuminating Stories.’ Warner writes, ‘The hundred miniatures took her seven years to complete and the achievement is dazzling. The present volume reproduces her work full-size, … with no strokes or drawing visible, but a pure glow of dense color, applied with brushes so small they consist of a half-dozen sable hairs.… Monika Beisner has been scrupulously loyal to Dante’s text, rendering gesture and position as described in the poem as well as its unsurpassed precision of spatial, geographical and temporal coordinates.’ ” [. . .]    —Oak Knoll Press

Petra Greule-Bstock, “Beauty awakens the soul to act.” Dante Alighieri

greule-bstock-beauty-awakens-the-soul-to-act-dante-alighieriBeauty awakens the soul to act. Dante Alighieri is one of many works Petra Greule-Bstock creates based on inspiration from a famous quotation. On Greule-Bstock’s blog, she provides background information about herself and her artwork: “I love to paint with natural pigments mixed and prepared like a meal, it’s like working in a color kitchen. Also I use oil pastels, Chinese ink, well let’s say just all I can find in my studio. I love the sensation of feeling lost in colors, materials and forms. Since I was able to keep a paint brush in my hands for the first time, painting was, still is and always will be necessary for me. It’s impossible living without. I was born in the south of Germany and lived there until 2000 before moving to France/Burgundy. Since 2011 I have my studio in Barcelona. Mostly I live with the feeling: I’m not going through the world but the world is going straight through me. The world, the daily life, people, surrounding, colors, smells, views, buildings, plants… all is impressing me, touching me, forming me. Painting is the way of how the “footprints” of all the impressions entering into my body, into my soul, my brain, my senses can communicate with those who are watching the result. With my paintings I’m offering a sight into the mirror of my emotional universe and it is like a dairy of subconsciousness, left footprints, dreams, . . .”    —Petra Greule-Bstock

YelworC: Trinity and Icolation

German band yelworC‘s recent work finds its roots in the Divine Comedy. Trinity (2004) and Icolation (2007) were inspired by Dante’s Inferno and Purgatory, respectively, and a third CD, tentatively titled “Any Heaven?” is to follow.

Karl Marx, “Das Kapital” (1867)

karl-marx-das-kapital-1867Ending his preface to the first edition of Das Kapital, Marx states the following:

“I welcome every opinion based on scientific criticism. As to the prejudices of so-called public opinion, to which I have never made concessions, now, as ever, my maxim is that of the great Florentine: ‘Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dire le genti.'”    –Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, trans. Ben Fowkes, ed. David Fernbach, Fowkes, and Ernest Mandel (New York: Penguin Classics, 1976), p. 93.

As the editors note, Marx actually altered Dante’s words for his own purposes. The original line, Purgatorio V 13, is as follows: “Vien dietro a me, a lasica dir le genti.”

Fritz Lang, “Metropolis” (1927)

fritz-lang-metropolis-1927“At about 80-90 minutes into the film, the Seven Deadly Sins with Death are presented as statues in a church. Death is playing a bone as if it were a flute, and the statues of the Seven Deadly Sins come to life.”    –Ian Eternick

Contributed by Ian Eternick (Luther College, ’11)

Radio Inferno

radio-inferno-1993 “In 1993, German artist Andreas Ammer teamed up with members of Einsturzende Neubauten and legendary DJ John Peel to produce a radio play of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The result was Radio Inferno, with music by Einsturzende’s F.M. Einheit, and starring Blixa Bargeld as Dante, Phil Minton as Virgil, and John Peel as “The Radio” (the narrator). Caspar Brotzmann played guitar, and the work includes guest appearance from Bootsy Collins and many others.”    —WFMU, February 18, 2007

Contributed by Jenny Davidson