“In Visions of Heaven, renowned scholar Martin Kemp investigates Dante’s supreme vision of divine light and its implications for the visual artists who were the inheritors of Dante’s vision. The whole book may be regarded as a new Paragone (comparison), the debate that began in the Renaissance about which of the arts is superior. Dante’s ravishing accounts of divine light set painters the severest challenge, which took them centuries to meet. A major theme running through Dante’s Divine Comedy, particularly in its third book, the Paradiso, centres on Dante s acts of seeing (conducted according to optical rules with respect to the kind of visual experience that can be accomplished on earth) and the overwhelming of Dante s earthly senses by heavenly light, which does not obey his rules of earthly optics. [. . .] Published to coincide with the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, this hugely original book combines a close reading of Dante’s poetry with analysis of early optics and the art of the Renaissance and Baroque to create a fascinating, wide-ranging and visually exciting study.” — Amazon (retrieved October 18, 2021)
“Black, a distinguished psychoanalyst as well as a poet, provides an introduction and commentary to this masterpiece by Dante from a contemporary point of view in this bilingual edition.” [. . .] —Amazon (retrieved on October 20, 2021)
“Marking the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, the exhibition of approximately 100 works in various media explores the visual nature of the Divine Comedy, which has inspired scholars and artists alike, from medieval times through today.
“Visions of Dante not only puts on display a large portion of the Fiske Collection for the first time. It also brings together works lent by notable institutions like the Morgan Library & Museum and 20th century and contemporary artists from William Blake to Salvador Dalí, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kara Walker.
“‘This exhibition reasserts the continued vibrancy of the Divine Comedy as a work of art, a work of literature, and shows the many ways in which visual artists have made their own personal interpretations and translations of that original text,’ says co-curator Andrew C. Weislogel, the Johnson’s Seymour R. Askin, Jr. ’47 Curator of Earlier European and American Art.” [. . .] –Susan Kelley, Cornell Chronicle, September 29, 2021
The exhibit is held at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and runs from September 14 – December 19, 2021.
See more information and view an online version of the exhibit here.
Charlie McKinney of DeMatha Catholic High School (Hyattsville, Maryland) built a text-based video game based on Dante’s Purgatorio. The game was created as a project for ethics and theology teacher Homer Twigg’s unit on Dante’s Purgatorio in 2021. Check out the game here.
“Presented as part of the 700th anniversary celebrations of the poet’s death, Dante’s epic journey through the afterlife, The Divine Comedy, is realised in a major artistic collaboration between trailblazing forces of the contemporary arts scene.
“In an inaugural co-production with Paris Opera Ballet and music co-commission with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Wayne McGregor’s groundbreaking choreography comes together with a virtuoso new score by one of the most influential musicians of the 21st Century, composer-conductor Thomas Adès, and designs by the acclaimed artist Tacita Dean, celebrated for her pioneering and poetic work across film and other mediums. With esteemed lighting designer Lucy Carter and dramaturg Uzma Hameed, the creative team unite in this three-part work for the full Company to illuminate the extraordinary vision of Dante.” —The Dante Project, Royal Opera House
Book tickets here (runs from October 14-30, 2021).
Stream the ballet here (from October 29, 2021).
A couple of teasers! Watch principals Francesca Hayward and Matthew Ball rehearse Inferno 5 (Paolo and Francesca in the whirlwind), with direction from Wayne McGregor, here.
And watch principals Edward Watson and Sarah Lamb rehearse the meeting with Beatrice in the Earthly Paradise here.
Sarah Crompton, writing for The Guardian, calls the performance “bold, beautiful, emotional and utterly engaging. The opening section, Inferno, where Dante (Watson) journeys to hell in the company of Virgil (Gary Avis), all but blows your socks off.” Read the review here.