Robert Rauschenberg, 34 Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno (1958-1960)

Robert-Rauschenberg-Canto-II-The-Descent-Dantes-Inferno

Canto II: The Descent (1958)
Solvent transfer drawing, pencil, gouache, and colored pencil on cut-and-pasted paper on paper.
© Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Leah Dickerman: In the middle of 1958, Rauschenberg took on a project that would occupy him across the course of the next two and a half years. He wanted to create illustrations for Dante’s Inferno, a work that was written over 600 years before. And to work on these drawings, he set a series of rules for himself. He would only read one canto at a time, and then he’d make a drawing. He wouldn’t read ahead and so he could respond to it with a kind of freshness.

“Robert Rauschenberg: When I started the Dante illustrations, I had been working purely abstractly for so long, it was important for me to see whether I was working abstractly because I couldn’t work any other way, or, or whether I was doing it out of choice. So I really welcomed, insisted, on it—on the challenge of being restricted by a particular subject, which meant that I would have to be involved in symbolism. Well, I spent two and a half years deciding that yes, I could do that.

“Leah Dickerman: He developed an innovative technique for the drawings. It was a solvent transfer technique, choosing photo-based images from popular illustrated magazines, like Sports Illustrated, or Life and Time. He would soak the images with lighter fluid, flip them over, and rub on their back with an empty ballpoint pen. And that would transfer the image to a sheet of drawing paper. Then, he added touches of wash, and gouache, and crayon, and pencil. In this way, he was mixing images that were snipped from the flow of the contemporary media world with traditional fine art media. And he called them ‘Combine’ drawings.” — “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends” @moma.org

View the full series of 34 drawings online at MoMA or the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

Contributed by Daria Bernard-Balatti (University of Kansas, 2020)

Infernal Topography: Alpaca’s Illustrated and Interactive INFERNO

“The illustrated and interactive Dante’s Inferno, an alternative learning tool for the Divine Comedy first Cantica, made for aiding visual memory. [. . .]

“The work is based on the anthology ‘Testi e scenari’ – Volume 1 (Panebianco, Pisoni, Reggiani, Malpensa), published by Zanichelli in 2009, and it has been developed by Alpaca together with the Molotro design studio. [. . .]

“The project won the Grand Prix and Gold prize for Didactics at IIID Awards 2017, by the International Institute of Information Design.” [. . .]    —Alpaca Società Cooperativa, 2017

The project was also created with the support of Società Dante Alighieri.

Check out the site here to experience the interactive abilities and full scope of Inferno, Illustrated.

You can check out more of Alpaca’s design projects here, and you can check out more from Molotro here.

Waiting For Doom: Episode 107

On Waiting For Doom, hosts Mike and Paul discuss “everyone’s favorite” superhero team, the Doom Patrol. In episode 107,”As In One of the Circles of Hell,” Mike and Paul talk about the Doom Patrol story that references the Inferno, “Tenth Circle.”

“We take our first nervous steps into an era we’ve never covered before…save for giving the entire run a brief recap back in Episode 7 (February 2015) because SOMEONE at the time refused to buy/read it…anyway, what was I saying? Oh. Yes. This week we take a look at the ‘Tenth Circle’ story from JLA (2004) issues 94 through 99, by John Byrne, Chris Claremont, Jerry Ordway, Tom Orzechowski and David Baron!” [. . .]    —Waiting For Doom, Podbean, October 5, 2017.

You can listen to this episode and more from Waiting For Doom on Podbean, and Apple Podcasts.

To keep up with all things Doom Patrol and see all the visuals from WFD’s episode, check out MyGreatestAdventure80 on Blogspot.

Octobriana and The Tenth Circle of Hell

Octobriana is a public domain Russian super-heroine, who first appeared in a comic strip in 1971. In the new Octobriana book, titled Octobriana: The Exotic Time Domina, there is a comic spoof of Dante’s Inferno titled “The Tenth Circle of Hell.”

In his review for Kult Creations, John A. Short writes:

“Firstly we have reprints of Reima’s two rare, out-of-print Octo strips from the early nineties… ‘Mission in the North’ (with artist Petri Tolppanen) and ‘The Tenth Circle of Hell’ (with artist Timo Niemi.) It is ‘The Tenth Circle of Hell’ that is the backbone of this book, since it runs to 37 pages and is by far the longest strip in the collection. The story sees the Spirit of the October Revolution flying her time travelling Wonder Machine to Hell to take on everyone from Cerberus, Pluto (the God not the dog), Medusa, the Devil and her own evil sister (Decabriana!) This spoof of Dante’s Divine Comedy has some great humour and cracking action all in artist Niemi’s macabre woodcut-style.” [. . .]   –John A. Short, Kult Creations, October 9, 2015.

In addition to “Mission in the North” and “The Tenth Circle of Hell”, the new Octobriana book includes the comic strips “Origins”, “Wasted Time”, and “From Cuba with Love.”

This book was written and illustrated by Reima Mäkinen, Petri Tolppanen, Timo Niemi, Vesa Vitikainen and Sauli Jokinen.

You can pick up a copy of Octobriana: The Exotica Time Domina online at Turun Sarjakuvakauppa for 12,00 €.

Luke Chueh’s Inferno (2009)

“The Inferno‘s artistic legacy is huge; Botticelli, Doré, Dali, Rauschenberg, and countless lesser known artists have created works inspired by the poem. It has inspired a movie (acted out by paper puppets) and even became a video game. Most artists seem to stay true to the poem, focusing on ‘the poets’ Dante, his guide Virgil, and Inferno‘s diverse cast of demons and damned. Rauschenberg approached Inferno by creating a painting for each of the 36 cantos. As for me, I’ve decided to remove Dante and Virgil, and instead create a painting for each ring of hell, with the exception of Rings Seven (a triptych – 3 paintings) and Eight (a deciptych – 10 paintings). I wanted to compose each painting in a way that illustrates what a ‘normal day in hell’ would be like. In order for me to accomplish this, I had to take some personal liberties with certain details within the Inferno, but I did my best to stay as true to the text as I could.

“Inferno was hosted by Gallery 1988, and opened on September 9th, 2009 (9/9/9). If you’re interested in any of these paintings, please contact Gallery 1988 for availability.” [. . .]    —Luke Chueh on his work, August, 2009.

Pictured above is Chueh’s map of his Inferno.

You can check out the full series of artwork and more of Chueh’s work on his website.

Donald Newman Illustrations of The Inferno (2004)

Donald Newman is an artist who works in oil, watercolor, sculpture, and photography. He created a series of illustrations depicting the 34 cantos of the Inferno, with the above illustrations representing Canto 5 and Canto 19.

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

Nine Circles of Hella-Peño

“Long, long ago, we promised ourselves that if Jack in the Box ever launched a new Munchie Meal featuring a Hella-Peño Burger, we’d make Ms. Morrow proud (she was, after all, Taft Union High School’s finest 11th-grade English teacher). Have we lost our minds? Probably, but the result is one of the greatest things in the history of things.

With no further delay, feast your eyes on (reverb voice) The 9 Circles of Hella-Peño!” –Robyn Reynolds for Struck on Behance, August 28, 2015.

To get a larger view of the artwork, click here.

You can check out more of Robyn Reynold’s work on Behance and her online portfolio.

You can check out more of Struck’s projects on Behance and the Struck website.

“Document Inferno: The 9 Circles of Email Routing Hell”

“While email has been meant mainly as a communication tool, that hasn’t stopped people from trying to cram every manner of functionality into it. Unfortunately, this often leads to communication gaffes and tends to suck the productivity out of teams. Whether you’ve suffered through every level or have only had to visit one or two, we’re sure anyone who’s used email to route or work with documents will recognize these common frustrations.” [. . .]    —Ontask, 2018

Check out the full list here.

Devilman Lady Vol. 16 Chapter 7 – Demon Lord Dante

“Ryo Utsugi makes another appearance in one of Go Nagai’s works,’Devilman Lady‘. This time, he is the reincarnation of Dante Alighieri, Mao Dante. He can be found in Hell where Devilman Lady must combat him.” — Contributor Savannah Mikus

Check out the full chapter here. Devilman Lady Vol.16 was originally published by Kodansha on July 21st, 2000.

Click here for another post about Go Nagai’s 1971 manga Mao Dante.

Contributed by Savannah Mikus (FSU 2020)

New England Winter Hell

new-england-circles-of-winter-hell-2016This cartoon by Beth Wolfensberger Singer summarizes the struggles of New Englanders during the winter season.

“Beth Wolfensberger Singer is a Boston-based artist. Her comics appear on her blog, ambitionectomy.tumblr.com.” — Singer, Boston Globe, December 16, 2016