The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno

“The first product coming out from this crazy idea was “The Social Network of Dante’s Inferno“, presented in the 2010 edition of the “Arts, Humanities and Complex Networks” symposium of NetSci and then published in a 2011 special issue of the Leonardo journal. In this work we were moved by the question: is a network of characters following some particular predictive patterns? If so: which ones?

“So we took a digital copy of Dante’s Inferno, where all interactions and characters were annotated with extra information (who the character was, if she was a historic or mythological figure, when she lived, …). We then considered each character as a node of the network. We created an edge between two characters if they had at least a direct exchange of words. Normal people would call this “a dialogue”.

“The double-focus point of the Commedia emerges quite naturally, as Dante and Virgilio are the so-called “hubs” of the system. It is a nice textbook example of the rich-get-richer effect, a classic network result. But contrary to what the title of the paper says, we went beyond that. There are not only “social” relationships. Each character is also connected to all the information we have about her. There is another layer, a semantic one, where we have nodes such as “Guelph” or “Middle Ages”. These nodes enable us to browse the Commedia as a network of concepts that Dante wanted to connect in one way or another. One can ask some questions like “are Ghibelline characters preferably connected to historic or mythological characters?” or “what’s the centrality of political characters in the Inferno as opposed to the Purgatorio?” and create one’s own interpretation of the Commedia.” […]    Michele Coscia, Michele Coscia, 12 December, 2013

Kateřina Machytková, paintings (2016)


Paradiso 28.
See Kateřina Machytková’s website for her illustrations of the Commedia.

Guy Denning’s Oil Painting Series on the Commedia

Guy Denning is an artist based out of Finistere, France since 2007. Beginning in 2011, he created a three part series of oil paintings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. The image above is a painting called “ch’io ‘l vidi uomo di sangue e di crucci” from his first series, ‘Inferno‘ (2011).

“In 2011 he presented ‘Inferno’, the first part of his three-part series of oil paintings on Dante’s Commedia in Bologna; this was his first exhibition in Italy and the complete exhibition sold out.
In 2011, he presented the second part of the series in New York City for the exhibition ‘Purgatorio’. Originally drawing inspiration from Dante’s writings, his intention was not to recreate the poem in a visual or literal sense, but instead let the ‘Purgatorio’ series act as a framework for his own personal interpretation of the world following 9/11. As with the writing of Shakespeare, Denning finds a perpetual relevance in Dante’s work where the specifics of name, situation and place are easily adapted to the modern world; as if time moves on but the problems of humanity remain essentially the same. The events of September 11th and the emotional toll it took on the US identity was a critical element to this body of work. Poignantly enough, this exhibition was held in a ‘pop-up’ location just blocks from Ground Zero and on the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.” [. . .]    —Widewalls Magazine, 2017

On exhibition set- “Inferno”

“This was the first part of my paintings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Inferno was exhibited at my first solo exhibition in Italy at MAGI’900 Museo, Bologna.”     –Guy Denning, on his site, January 19, 2017

On exhibition set- “Purgatorio”

“This was the second part of my paintings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Purgatorio was exhibited in Manhattan at a pop-up gallery space by Brooklynite Gallery on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.”    –Guy Denning, on his site, January 30, 2017.

The image above to the right is a painting called “the cardinal virtue of media temperance” from the ‘Purgatorio‘ exhibition.

On exhibition set- “Paradiso”

“This was the third part of my paintings based on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Paradiso was exhibited at Signal Gallery in London.”    –Guy Denning, on his site, January 27, 2017.

The image below is a painting called “Looking for Beatrice” from the ‘Paradiso‘ exhibiton.

To view Denning’s full list of exhibitions, check out his website here

“Atlanta Podcasters Go To Hell With ‘The Divined Comedy’”

“‘The Divined Comedy’ is a podcast which is devoted to talking about Dante Alighieri’s Inferno one canto at a time, taking plenty of detours into pop culture along the way.

“Hosts Paul Cantrell and David Fountain began ‘midway in their life’s journey’ in July and plan on covering the entirety of Alighieri’s fantasy about traveling through the nine levels of Hell before moving on to Purgatorio and finally Paradiso. That’s one hundred cantos in all.

“Billing themselves as ‘The Only Dante Podcast You’ll Ever Need, Ostensibly,’ Cantrell plays the role of a sort of cheerleader for Dante, encouraging Fountain through his first reading of the book.

“‘For a poem that is seven hundred years old,’ Fountain said, ‘you can find a remarkable amount of modern lessons in it, and it withstands a lot of poking and prodding.'” [. . .]    –Myke Johns, WABE, August 17, 2016.

You can listen to The Divined Comedy on Podomatic.

You can check out Dante Today’s post on The Divined Comedy here.

The Divined Comedy with Paul Cantrell & David Fountain

“THE ONLY DANTE PODCAST YOU’LL EVER NEED, OSTENSIBLY.

“Abandon all hope as Paul Cantrell & David Fountain discuss The Divine Comedy one canto at a time.” –description on Apple Podcasts app.

You can listen to all seventy-seven episodes of The Divined Comedy on their website and on Podomatic.

Gary Panter, Songy of Paradise (2017)

Gary-Panter-Songy-of-Paradise“The final issue of Jimbo – #7 – chronicles Jimbo’s descent into Hell, represented on the page as an abandoned mall. The comic is a scant 33 pages long, but Fantagraphics decided to make a big deal of it: they repackaged Jimbo #7 as Jimbo’s Inferno, a gigantic, 11×15 hardcover book, and followed it with Jimbo in Purgatory.

“The wider reading public began to notice what Panter was doing: each page corresponded to a canto in Dante’s classic poems. Though the improvisational-looking drawings were of robots or monsters or yokels on tractors, they were all part of a highly complex representational scheme that paid homage to, and made fun of, Dante all at once.

“The last volume in the trilogy ships this month: Songy of Paradise merges Dante’s Paradiso with Milton’s Paradise Regained, and tells the story of Jesus’s temptation in the desert, with a gap-toothed hillbilly named Songy taking the place of Jesus (Panter: ‘I didn’t want to deal with Jesus’).” –Sam Thielman, “Gary Panter: The Cartoonist Who Took a Trip to Hell and Back,” The Guardian, July 18, 2017

See also our previous post on Gary Panter’s 2006 graphic novel Jimbo’s Inferno here.

Thomas Centolella, “In the Evening We Shall Be Examined on Love”

Although the most direct reference is to the 16th century Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross, Thomas Centolella’s poem also recalls the pilgrim’s examination on love by Saint John in Paradiso 26:

“In the Evening We Shall Be Examined on Love”Thomas-Centolella-In-the-Evening-We-Shall-Be-Examined-on-Love-Paradiso
St. John of the Cross

And it won’t be multiple choice,
though some of us would prefer it that way.
Neither will it be essay, which tempts us to run on
when we should be sticking to the point, if not together.
In the evening there shall be implications
our fear will change to complications. No cheating,
we’ll be told, and we’ll try to figure the cost of being true
to ourselves. In the evening when the sky has turned
that certain blue, blue of exam books, blue of no more
daily evasions, we shall climb the hill as the light empties
and park our tired bodies on a bench above the city
and try to fill in the blanks. And we won’t be tested
like defendants on trial, cross-examined
till one of us breaks down, guilty as charged. No,
in the evening, after the day has refused to testify,
we shall be examined on love like students
who don’t even recall signing up for the course
and now must take their orals, forced to speak for once
from the heart and not off the top of their heads.
And when the evening is over and it’s late,
the student body asleep, even the great teachers
retired for the night, we shall stay up
and run back over the questions, each in our own way:
what’s true, what’s false, what unknown quantity
will balance the equation, what it would mean years from now
to look back and know
we did not fail.

From Thomas Centolella’s Lights and Mysteries (1995). See the text of the poem and other poems by Centolella at poetryfoundation.org.

Lana Grossa “Paradiso” Ribbon

Lana-Grossa-Paradiso-Textile-RibbonAvailable at the Lana Grossa online store here.

Vittorio Tranini Fresco, Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Lugano)

Basilica-Sacred-Heart-Lugano-Switzerland-Dante-Fresco-Vittorio-Tranini

Photo credit Giacomo Berchi (6/13/2016)

Fresco of Dante by Vittorio Tranini, Basilica del Sacro Cuore, Lugano, Switzerland. Contributor Giacomo Berchi gives the following description: “A small frame in the right transept of the Basilica, under the mosaic of St. Francis. In it there are a portrait of Dante, deliberately inspired by Doré’s one, into which there is the capital letter ‘N’ of the quote from Par. XI, 106-08: ‘Nel crudo sasso intra Tevere ed Arno / da Cristo prese l’ultimo sigillo / che le sue membra du’anni portarno’. Frescos painted by Vittorio Tranini between 1934 and 1954.”

Contributed by Giacomo Berchi (Istituto di Studi Italiani, USI, Lugano, CH)

“Rap God” Video by Eminem

A few Dante-related images flash through the music video for Eminem’s song “Rap God.” The video shows several of Gustave Doré’s illustrations of Purgatorio and Paradiso, as well as a quick shot of the spine of a book that reads Inferno:

Eminem-Rap-God-Inferno-Book-Spine

Contributor Hunter Sherry writes, “As this image is shown the lyrics in the song are ‘I want to make sure somewhere in this chicken scratch I scribble and doodle enough rhymes, to maybe try to get some people through tough times’ and I think this is a reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy rhyming in its original Italian version. The song is also about the divinity of Eminem with respect to rap and hip hop so a Dante reference would make sense in the context of the song.”

Watch the full video on YouTube here.

Contributed by Hunter Sherry (University of Delaware)