Krittika Ramanujan, Dante Prints

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Musicians on the Beach: Purgatory

My work uses prints, drawings, paintings and short films to look at the human conditions of loss, suffering, exile, death, memory, and the past. Art for me is a way to explore questions that cannot be answered. Questions like “what is death? Is human nature good or evil? Why is there such suffering? what is fate?”

A work of art should contain more than one idea. For instance, the beauty of colour in an image may draw a viewer in, while the horrible subject pushes them away. A horrible image may be initially taken as something beautiful. An event in real life, and the depiction of such an event in art are quite different. These are two separate realms of experience. It is up to each viewer to experience it for themselves, or not. It is not the artist’s business to tell them what to think, or what response to have.

I have three ongoing bodies of work. One is inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy. The second is on mammal skeletons, both modern and prehistoric. The third is about human rights, mainly the issue of lynching.

Each print seems to me like a page torn from a novel, in which the viewer can imagine what came before and after. Drawing is a way of thinking, discovering and feeling, so these works are primarily drawing based.  –Artist Statement, Krittika Ramanujan

 

Rachelle Meyer, The Divine Comedy (2014)

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“Every Litograph design emerges from the text of a book. [. . .] This 24 x 36 inch print includes the full text of Inferno from the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow translation of The Divine Comedy. The 18 x 24 inch print includes approximately the first three quarters of Inferno.”    —Litographs

Jacob Landau, “The Holocaust Suite and Dante’s Inferno”

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“My work has been obsessed by the figure… not only an object, but also and principally as a symbol expressive of our common predicament, of the beauty and horror of existence…. I am interested in art as advocacy of the human, as revelation of the tragic, as hope of transcendence.”    –Jacob Landau, Kean Galleries

On loan from the Jacob Landau Collection at Monmouth University

See also “Art Transcends Consciousness at the Human Rights Institute” (Kean Xchange)

Roberta Delaney, “Translations and Transformations”

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“‘Translations and Transformations’ is a journey with two destinations: Dante’s and mine. Dante’s Divine Comedy was written at in the early 14th century, in Italian, and in verse. He is the narrator and main character. Since 1812 when it was first translated into English, this long poem of 100 Cantos has been translated continuously just in English. Dante’s journey takes us down into the many levels of the Inferno (the Pope is next to Satan); we leave the Inferno climb a mountain out of Purgatory leading to Paradise. Dante has completed his journey and returns to earth, content.
I have also completed my journey. The Divine Comedy is still being translated because within the poem’s tight geometric structure, Dante has exposed the flaws of human nature. He was a Catholic, but highly critical of the clergy. In the wider sense, pride is still with us as is greed. This is a universal work of art that resonates in today’s living language and, fortunately via translators, for future generations.
There are twenty-six etchings in ‘Translations and Transformations’, it is bound and all the text is letterpress printed. The Italian text is printed in light gray, the English translations in black. Open, the size is 13″high X 37”wide.”    —Roberta Delaney

Remembering Michael Mazur’s Illustrations of the Inferno

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“Michael Mazur, a relentlessly inventive printmaker, painter and sculptor whose work encompassed social documentation, narrative and landscape while moving back and forth between figuration and abstraction, died on Aug. 18 in Cambridge, Mass. He was 73 and lived in Cambridge and Provincetown, Mass. . .
While attending Amherst College he studied with the printmaker and sculptor Leonard Baskin, who was teaching at Smith College. After taking a year off to study in Italy, where his lifelong fascination with Dante began, he received a bachelor’s degree in 1957 and went on to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine art from the Yale School of Art and Architecture. . .
After seeing an exhibition of Degas monotypes at the Fogg Museum in 1968, he began exploring that medium, most notably in the monumental Wakeby landscapes of 1983, depicting Wakeby Lake on Cape Cod, and in a series of illustrations for Robert Pinsky’s translation of Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ published in 1994.” [. . .]    –William Grimes, The New York Times, August 29, 2009

Contributed by Richard Lindemann (2006)

Sandow Birk’s Illustrations of the “Divine Comedy”

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“A five year project which involved adapting the text of the entire “Divine Comedy” into contemporary slang and setting the action in contemporary urban America. The project resulted in three, limited edition books, Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Each book contained more than 60 original lithographs and was published by Trillium Press in San Francisco.”    —Sandow Birk

See also: Sandow Birk’s film “Dante’s Inferno” (2007)