Theo Wujcik’s “Gates of Hell” (1987)

“One of Tampa Bay’s best-known artists, Theo Wujcik (1936-2014), spent a decade creating a series drawn from the dark and profound literary classic, Dante’s Inferno. Now, those extraordinary paintings are the theme for Theo Wujcik: Cantos, a special exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. This exhibition celebrates the work of Theo Wujcik (1936–2014), with a focus on the literary references in his work. A fixture of the Ybor City art scene, Wujcik was an accomplished master printer and painter whose expansive practice engaged deeply with art historical tradition and the global contemporary art world.

“This exhibition will premiere the Museum’s newest accession of Wujcik’s work, the diptych Gates of Hell (1987), which complements Canto II (1997), also in the collection. Both of these paintings are based on Italian poet Dante Alighieri’s (1265–1321) Inferno, the first part of the epic poem Divine Comedy. Also featured will be selections from the artist’s personal notebooks, collage studies, and a number of select loans.”  —Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, 2019

Learn more about Theo Wujcik’s exhibition here.

A Divina Comedia, O Filme (Brazilian Movie 2020)

“Based on the work of Dante Alighieri. The Titan Studio company in partnership with the theatre team Trupe Alcateia will give life to this incredible play that for centuries is investigating the curiosity of people all around the globe. The project consists of filming with chroma keys so CGI scenarios can be built and applied onto the background allowing more freedom with the creation and keeping the originality of the play. The performances will all be theatrical and with scripts adapted to the cinematic customs and updated language, besides having a slight ‘Shakespearian’ touch in order to maintain the romanticism of the work.” [. . .]    —ARTSTATION

The movie poster above features the film’s interpretation of Ciacco in Inferno 6. To learn more visit the Facebook page here.

Carlos Martinez Moreno, El Infierno (1981)

“This last novel by Uruguayan writer and defense attorney Martínez Moreno, who died in exile in 1986, depicts the revolt of Uruguay’s Tupamaro urban guerillas and their suppression by the military in the early 1970s. Using true accounts of kidnapping, torture and murder from political detainees whom he defended while living in Uruguay, Martínez Moreno fashions a dreamlike yet brutally realistic story of a police state. His book borrows chiefly from The Inferno in Dante’s Divine Comedy. In this modern-day hell, wealthy Uruguayan bankers and prosecutors are kidnapped by the Tupamaros; army colonels and police officers learn more effective ways to torture political prisoners from the ‘cold, calculating’ North American ‘adviser.'”   —Publishers Weekly, 1988

For more on the novel and its relationship to Dante’s poem, see Efraín Kristal’s “What Is, Is Not: Dante in Tomas Eloy Martínez’s Purgatorio,” Bulletin of Latin American Research 31.4 (2012): 473-484 (accessible here).

Tom Stoppard’s Bookshelf

“Stoppard is a maniacal reader who collects first editions of writers he admires. Asked on the BBC radio show ‘Desert Island Discs’ in 1984 to choose the one book he’d bring to a desert island, he replied: Dante’s Inferno in a dual Italian/English version, so he could learn a language while reading a favorite. His idea of a good death, he’s said, would be to have a bookshelf fall on him, killing him instantly, while reading.”   –Dwight Garner, “‘Tom Stoppard’ Tells of an Enormous Life Spent in Constant Motion,” New York Times review of Hermione Lee, Tom Stoppard: A Life (February 15, 2021)

Contributed by Guy Raffa (University of Texas, Austin)

Lorenzo Amato on the surrealist Japanese artist Fukuzawa Ichiro (1898-1992) and Dante

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fukuzawa’s work was recently shown in Laugh Off This Hopeless World: Fukuzawa Ichiro (The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, March 12 – May 26 2019, a cura di Shōgo Ōtani, Ryō Furutate, Reiko Nakamura).

See Lorenzo Amato’s article, “Fra Dante Alighieri e l’Ōjōyōshū di Genshin: la società come Inferno nell’opera di Fukuzawa Ichirō, pittore umanista e misantropo” in Insula Europa, February 2021.

“Dante, Inferno light up DeWine on new song”

“John Dante has a message for Gov. Mike DeWine.

“John Dante and the Inferno will debut a new song called ‘Hello Gov’ner’ on a live EP set for release on Friday.

“The EP will be accompanied by a video version that was shot at Nexus Sound Studio in Youngstown and will debut on YouTube.”   –Andy Gray, Tribune Chronicle, 2020

Read the full article here.

“IT Inferno: The nine circles of IT hell”

“Spend enough time in the tech industry, and you’ll eventually find yourself in IT hell — one not unlike the underworld described by Dante in his Divine Comedy.

“But here, in the data centers, conference rooms, and cubicles, the IT version of this inferno is no allegory. It is a very real test of every IT pro’s sanity and soul.”   –Dan Tynan, Info World, 2011

Read the full article here.

“The List: The nine circles of Columbus Hell”

Editor at Columbus Alive constructs Columbus, Ohio’s own version of Dante’s Circles of Hell.

“Who needs Dante? Let ‘Alive’ lead you down into the darkness.

“The Hell City Tattoo Fest, which celebrates everything ink-drenched, begins on Friday, April 26, and runs through Sunday, with action centered Downtown at the Hyatt Regency (visit hellcity.com for more information). With that in mind, and in the spirit of Dante’s Inferno, we thought we’d assemble our own, localized Circles of Hell,”   –Andy Downing, Columbus Alive, 2019

Read the full article here.

Robert Schwentke, dir. R.I.P.D. (2013)


“There are many descriptions of the afterlife in fiction that can be traced back to Dante’s imaginative journeys. The wacky afterlife universe depicted in the 2013 movie R.I.P.D (Rest in Peace Department) can’t shake off the legacy.

“When a Boston police officer is killed by his renegade partner, he is immediately whizzed up to a questionable Heaven where he discovers that everyone has to answer for past crimes in the thereafter – or join R.I.P.D, Inferno’s police force. The task of the R.I.P.D is to catch ‘Deadoes’, the souls of the deceased who refuse to accept their fate and instead return to the world of the living in order to spoil it.

“The ascent to where R.I.P.D resides is a helical ride for the recently departed, a cocktail of two shots of Inferno, half a Purgatorio and one of Paradiso.  Sitting under the department of ‘Eternal Affairs’, R.I.P.D is run by a chief, half Virgil, half Minos, whose role is to give the new recruit a tour of the establishment. The movie seems to suggest that if you’re not simply visiting Hell (like Dante the pilgrim), then you’re either a convict or an (infernal) law-enforcement officer, whose job is to keep the damned away from the living.

“Dante’s circles of Hell are alluded to in the prison cells of the R.I.P.D precincts and in its staff’s crammed offices. Hell is other people working in the next R.I.P.D cubicle.”    –Cristian Ispir

Kat Mustatea, Voidopolis (2020)

@kmustatea on Instagram (January 30, 2021)

Voidopolis is a digital performance about loss and memory that is currently unfolding over 45 posts on my Instagram feed (@kmustatea). Started July 1, 2020, it is a loose retelling of Dante’s Inferno, informed by the grim experience of wandering through NYC during a pandemic. Instead of the poet Virgil, my guide is a caustic hobo named Nikita.”   –Kat Mustatea

Featuring a Dantesque cast of characters ranging from the Virgilian Nikita to a mohawked Minos, a gruff ferryman named Kim and a withdrawn George Perec, Mustatea’s Voidopolis weaves through the pandemic-deserted streets of Manhattan, a posthuman landscape of absence and loss, bearing witness to its vanishings. Voidopolis won the 2020 Arts & Letters “Unclassifiable” Prize for Literature, and received a Literature grant from the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation.

To read more about both the process of the piece and its influences, including Dante, see the interview with Mustatea featured in Dovetail Magazine (2020).