Dante 700 by Timothy Schmalz

“In September 2019, Timothy Schmalz’s ‘Angels Unawares,’ a life-size bronze sculpture commemorating the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, was installed in St. Peter’s Square in Rome. Pope Francis celebrated a special Mass for the occasion.

Timothy is currently working on a new project to honor the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri in 2021. ‘I believe Dante is one of the greatest writers of all time. So, I thought I would do what has never been done before. I think this is an amazing opportunity to celebrate not only Dante, but Italian and European culture.’ He plans to sculpt each of Dante’s 300 cantos. The ‘Dante 700’ sculpture project will memorialize this significant anniversary with sculptures of each of the 100 cantos in the Divine Comedy. Very few artists ever represent more than the Inferno in their paintings and sculptures. This is a rare project that will show individual sculptures of all the cantos, including Purgatory and Paradise.

The project will include the cantos and a principal sculpture of Dante. Installed together and cast in bronze, the work will be dynamically represented in order to inspire people to actually read Dante. This sculpture project will also be used to create a new illustrated book of Dante in collaboration with a new translation, which will be finished for the anniversary year in 2021.”    —La Gazzetta Italiana, April 2020

In Dante Veritas, Vasily Klyukin

In Dante Veritas is a large scale, immersive multimedia exhibition by Russian sculptor Vasily Klyukin. It represents a narrative that recreates the nine circles of hell, and includes over 100 multimedia elements, such as sculpture, installation, digital art, audio and light boxes. The exhibitions includes sculptural works, most of which represent negative human traits such as Anger, Gluttony and Betrayal.

“The most prominent sculptural pieces are the Four Horsemen of the Modern Apocalypse. The artist has translated the traditional Horsemen (plague, war, hunger and death) into a modern day version: Overpopulation, Misinformation, Extermination and Pollution.

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“The immersive exhibition encourages visitors to examine the sculptures with an audio guide narrated in the style of Dante’s poems. The sculptures of human sins also portray the punishment that comes with the sin. For instance, Gluttony is incredibly obese and Temptation has no limbs.

“The exhibition also includes a ‘prison’ room, further embodying the topic of sin. Famous criminals such as Stalin, Pablo Escobar and Bokassa are imprisoned here. The prison has a dungeon room – Betrayal – which represents Hell. Visitors are encouraged to leave notes on the wall, allowing them to name people who have betrayed them, or to write a message of forgiveness.

“The exhibition ends on a positive note. The Heart of Hope is a large sculpture of a heart at the centre of the exhibition, which was also displayed at the Burning Man festival in 2017. It symbolises the ability to stop all the negative traits and sins. Visitors are given a bracelet which transmits a signal to the statue, which then beats in the rhythm of the bracelet wearer’s heartbeat.”    —Elucid Magazine

Fritz Koenig, “Paolo und Francesca” (1958)

Among German sculptor Fritz Koenig’s oeuvre one finds a number of works that take inspiration from Dante, particularly mediated through Rodin’s sculpture groups in his Gates of Hell. Below, “Paolo und Francesca” from 1958.

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Photo credit Heinz Theuerkauf (Flickr)

Koenig’s work was celebrated with a retrospective at the Gallerie degli Uffizi in 2018.

Contributed by Jessica Beasley (Florida State University, 2018)

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

In John Landis’ 1981 cult classic An American Werewolf In London, at 65:30 you can see a bust of Dante Alighieri in the Doctor’s study.

You can watch the full movie on Amazon Prime, Youtube, Google Play, Vudu, and on iTunes.

Yves Guérin’s Divine comédie Sculptures

Yves-Guerin-Divine-Comedie-Montpeyroux“L’Enfer, le Purgatoire, le Paradis… Yves Guérin s’est inspiré de l’œuvre de Dante pour créer trois sculptures monumentales, exposées à Montpeyroux. […]

“Pour cela, il a choisi, depuis plusieurs années, de façonner des rails de chemin de fer. «Il faut lui faire cracher quelque chose à la matière.» Et lui faire raconter une histoire. En l’occurrence, celle de la Divine comédie, de Dante. «Un texte qui m’a toujours impressionné et que je réinterprète.»

“L’Enfer a ainsi pris place dans la carrière du village, le Purgatoire sur le promontoire et le Paradis, création haute de 11 mètres, sur l’esplanade. «J’ai vraiment souhaité exploiter ces trois lieux.» Des espaces qui se complètent à merveille. Il suffit d’observer, au pied de la carrière, la sculpture du Purgatoire qui se dresse dans la perspective de l’Enfer. Tout un symbole. «J’ai toujours eu des questionnements sur le devenir de l’humanité, ce qu’il reste des choses», confie l’artiste.” — Marion Chavot, “Le sculpteur expose trois de ses œuvres jusqu’à la fin de l’année,” La Montagne, June 24, 2016

Contributed by Giuseppe Sangirardi (Université de Lorraine)

“La Divina Brick-Commedia,” Fabio Broggi

“Ho ripercorso il viaggio di Dante attraverso l’utilizzo dei mattoncini più famosi al mondo. Le diverse immagini rappresentano altrettanti passaggi del poeta lungo la discesa nei gironi infernali, fino all’incontro con Lucifero e la sua fuoriuscita nell’emisfero australe.” — Fabio Broggi

See Fabio Broggi’s Instagram account (@ilcarota) for more images from La Divina Brick-Commedia.

Summer Exhibition of Marble Carvings at the Casa Galiano (2018)

The Casa Galiano (East Brunswick, NJ) presents an outdoor exhibition of 18 marble carvings of the Divine Comedy. The carvings are on exhibit in summer and fall 2018. For more information, visit the Casa Galiano website.

Casa-Galiano-Farinata

Virgil and the pilgrim meet Farinata

While visiting, be sure to check out the Dante Sculpture Garden and Wall Mural, featured on Dante Today here.

Contributed by Dino Galiano

Paulo De Tarso Souza, “Charon’s Boat” and “The 9th Circle” (2018)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paulo De Tarso Souza

Sculpture of Dante by Stefan Mokrousov-Guglielmi at the Museo di Casa di Dante, Florence (2016)

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Contributed by Adam Glynn (Bowdoin, ’17)

Thinking Against Violence

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Images projected in Lyon, France, as tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks. Credit Robert Pratta/Reuters

This is an interview with Brad Evans, a senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Bristol in England. He is the founder and director of the Histories of Violence project, a global research initiative on the meaning of mass violence in the 21st century.

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[…] “But let’s consider for a moment what the thinker [the sculpture by Rodin] is actually contemplating. Sat alone on his plinth, the thinker could in fact be thinking about anything in particular. We just hope it is something serious. Such ambiguity was not however as Rodin intended. In the original 1880 sculpture, the thinker actually appears kneeling before the Gates of Hell. We might read this as significant for a whole number of reasons. First, it is the “scene of violence,” which gives specific context to Rodin’s thinker. Thought begins for the thinker in the presence of the raw realities of violence and suffering. The thinker in fact is being forced to suffer into truth.

“Second, there is an interesting tension in terms of the thinker’s relationship to violence. Sat before the gates, the thinker appears to be turning away from the intolerable scene behind. This we could argue is a tendency unfortunately all too common when thinking about violence today. Turning away into abstraction or some scientifically neutralizing position of “objectivity.” And yet, according to one purposeful reading, the figure in this commission is actually Dante, who is contemplating the circles of hell as narrated in The Divine Comedy. This is significant. Rather than looking away, might it be that the figure is now actually staring directing into the abyss below? Hence raising the fundamental ethical question of what it means to be forced witness to violence?” […]   –Natasha Lennard and Brad Evans, The New York Times, December 16, 2015