Dante Murals at Saint Mary’s College, California

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In 2006, artists Susan Cervantes and Ellen Silva collaborated on a series of Dante-themed murals for the walls of Dante Hall, at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“The powerful imagery of Dante’s Divine Comedy is leaping off the page and onto the walls of Dante Hall, where artists are transforming the drab first-floor corridor with colorful murals of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso.

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“Shawny Anderson, associate dean of the School of Liberal Arts, proposed the project in 2005 for a class which never came to be, but the idea resonated with the school’s leaders.

“‘I always thought that the halls of the College should ‘sing’ of the authors they honor,’ Anderson says.” –Debra Holtz, “Visualizing Dante,” St. Mary’s College of California News

See Ellen Silva’s page here.

Dante at UVA

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This bust of Dante watches over a University of Virginia library.

Sympathy for the Devil: Satan, Sin, and the Underworld

Witkin, The Devil as TailorStanford University’s Cantor Arts Center is running an exhibit focused on the tradition of portraying Hell and the Devil in art, titled “Sympathy for the Devil: Satan, Sin, and the Underworld“. It explores the way the concept of the Devil has changed throughout the Western canon; we can think about how Dante’s silent Satan in frozen Hell fits into the story.

The exhibit’s description reads:

“The Cantor has Rodin’s famous masterwork the Gates of Hell. As Jackson Pollock’s important painting Lucifer comes to Stanford as part of the Anderson Collection, it is interesting to explore the visual history of the Devil and his realm. Also known as Satan, Lucifer, Mephistopheles, etc., the Devil and Hell itself are only briefly mentioned in the Bible; yet this source inspired artists.

“During the period from about 1500 to 1900, the Devil evolved from the bestial adversary of Christ to a rebellious, romantic hero or shrewd villain. In the 20th century this long tradition of graphic representation largely disappeared, as Hell came to be seen as an aspect of this world and its denizens as ‘other people.’ 

“Based upon the collections at Stanford and augmented by several loans, this exhibition traces the dominant Western tradition over approximately four centuries. A variety of prints, drawings, sculpture, and paintings— including works by Albrecht Dürer, Hendrick Goltzius, Jacques Callot, Gustav Doré, Max Beckmann, and Jerome Witkin—reveal how artists visualized Satan and his infernal realm and draw inspiration from religious sources and accounts by Homer, Dante, Virgil, and Milton.”

The exhibit runs from August 20th, 2014, until December 1st, 2014, and is open to the public.

Dante Digitized: Debates in the Digital Humanities, ed. Matthew Gold (2012)

Debates“From defining what a digital humanist is and determining whether the field has (or needs) theoretical grounding, to discussions of coding as scholarship and trends in data-driven research, this cutting-edge volume delineates the current state of the digital humanities and envisions potential futures and challenges.” [ . . . ] — DH Debates Website

For more information about the volume and the 2013 open-access edition, click here.

Was Dante Narcoleptic?

was-dante-narcoleptic“According to a study published this week by Giuseppe Plazzi of the University of Bologna’s Sleep Laboratory, Dante may have been narcoleptic: a sufferer from the neurological disorder that, among other symptoms, causes people to drift off suddenly at all times of day.” [. . .]    –Sarah Bakewell, “If Dante was a narcoleptic, why should it matter?” The Guardian, September 27, 2013

“Dante Now!”: Notre Dame students perform the Divine Comedy

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Students in the Italian program at the University of Notre Dame stage public readings of the Divine Comedy across campus (fall 2012).

“Organizers said the event was meant to bring the ‘vibrant immediacy’ of The Divine Comedy to life for a modern audience. ‘Students of Dante will know that reading his works alone and silently can be a life-changing experience, the fruits of which will endure and ripen,’ said Anne Leone, postdoctoral research fellow in Italian studies. ‘But reading his works aloud—and together—promises to be another experience entirely.'”    —Notre Dame News

For video coverage of the event, click here.

Cleaning the ‘Gates of Hell’

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“Somebody has got to keep the Gates of Hell safe from the elements. Meet the students on Stanford’s outdoor sculpture preservation crew. They conduct preventative maintenance on Rodin’s Gates of Hell and 100 other outdoor sculptures across campus. In other words, they get lots of hands-on-the-art experience because they have permission to touch.

“Given the nature of their work, which combines art and science, it’s no surprise that the crew, led by Elizabeth Saetta, is an extension of the Cantor Arts Center’s Art+Science Learning Lab, run by Susan Roberts-Manganelli.” […]

” ‘Regular care protects the sculpture from exposure to the elements, pests and public, and also prevents the need for invasive conservation treatment or repairs in the future,’ Saetta said. She is currently seeking a hands-on student to join the crew – one who’s not afraid of waxing hell.”    —Stanford Report

Paul William Bear Brewer, “Opening Dante’s Gate” (2012)

bear-brewer-cover“Columbia University Physics professor, Andrea Mandola, discovers that a near Earth passing of Mars in 3000 B.C. explains the mysteries behind the construction of the pyramids, Noah’s flood, ancient civilizations’ worship of Mars, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and proves Dante’s Gate to Hell actually existed. Using her knowledge of physics and a handsome colleague’s passion for Dante, Andrea’s team uncovers and activates Dante’s Gate. When one of Andrea’s team steps through the Gate his entire life on Earth is erased and the world is forever changed. Dante’s Gate blurs the lines between historical fiction, science fiction thriller and technothriller genres. The book intertwines stories covering 5000 years of history, throws in a little romance and builds to to a suspenseful climax in present day New Jersey.”    —Amazon

1000+ illustrations of the Commedia from Cornell University’s Fiske Dante Collection on Shared Shelf

1000-illustrations-of-the-commedia-from-cornell-universitys-fiske-dante-collection-on-shared-shelf “Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem Divina Commedia has had an incalculable impact on Western culture, not least through its inspiration of visual artists. After all, Dante’s descriptions of grotesque figures, fantastic landscapes, and inventive punishments virtually beg to be depicted visually.
Now anyone can view and download approximately 1,000 of these images from eleven editions of the poem published between 1487 and 1846 courtesy of Cornell University Library’s Divine Comedy Image Archive (DCIA). These images are available free in Shared Shelf Commons, the open-access library of images from institutions that subscribe to Shared Shelf, ARTstor’s Web-based service for cataloging and managing digital collections. The DCIA plans to make available a total of approximately 2,000 images from editions dating through 1921.”    —Artstor, November 7, 2012

Contributed by Emma Pyle (Bowdoin, ’12)

A College Education. . .

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“A COLLEGE education aims to guide students through unfamiliar territory — Arabic, Dante, organic chemistry — so what was once alien comes to feel a lot less so. But sometimes an issue starts so close to home that the educational goal is the inverse: to take what students think of as familiar and place it in a new and surprising light.” [. . .]    –Ethan Bronner, The New York Times, November 1, 2012