Dante. The Vision of Art Exhibition

“The Uffizi is providing Dante-centric artworks for the major exhibition Dante. The Vision of Art held in Forlì from March 12 to July 4, 2021.

The show is part of the nationwide celebrations for the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, but also aims to symbolize the rebirth of Italy and the art world.

The project is based on an idea by Eike Schmidt, director of the Gallerie degli Uffizi, and Gianfranco Brunelli, director of major exhibitions of the Fondazione Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì, while Professors Antonio Paolucci and Professor Fernando Mazzocca are the show curators. The decision to hold the exhibition in Forlì is part of an overall strategy to promote the area that acts as a natural bridge between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. Dante sought refuge in Forlì in the Autumn of 1302 after leaving Arezzo. The poet stayed with the city’s noble ruling family, the Ordelaffi, for more than a year.

Several works will be loaned to Forlì by the Uffizi, including Andrea del Castagno’s portraits of Dante and Farinata degli Uberti, which are not usually not public view in Florence, given their placement in the San Pier Scheraggio church, which is where the council met on which Dante once served. A second Dante portrait, by Cristofano dell’Altissimo, will be displayed in the Forlì exhibition. Pontormo’s Exile from Paradise and a Michelangelo’s drawing depicting a doomed man in Divine Comedy’s Inferno, in addition to a selection of fine sketches by Federico Zuccari for the 500th illustrated edition of the text. Other highlights include a marble bust of Virgil by the eighteenth-century sculptor Carlo Albacini, and the nineteenth-century canvas by Tuscan proto-romantic Nicola Monti, titled Francesca da Rimini in the Inferno.”    –Editorial Staff, The Florentine, July 10, 2020

Glensound’s Inferno

“Inferno is a commentary system for a single user, or for a large multi commentator system. Connections use network audio cabling, either directly to the GSI-DARK88 break out box, or across a structured network. The Dante audio protocol is used to transport the audio, making the system flexible and programmable as part of a larger Dante system.”   –“Inferno” info sheet, Glensound

Glensound is a UK-based manufacturer specializing in audio hardware for live sound, studio, and broadcast. Besides Inferno, their products include units called Beatrice, Virgil, Styx, and Divine, all of which integrate with Dante-based systems.

DANTE is a digital media networking technology produced by Audinate. The acronym stands for Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet.

Contributed by Pete Maiers

Gathered at the Edge of Light Exhibition – Michael Mazur

“Albert Merola Gallery at 424 Commercial St. [Provincetown, Mass.] is happy to present its first exhibition of 2020 from June 12 to July 1 — paintings by Michael Mazur. The exhibition’s title, Gathered at the Edge of Light, comes from a passage early on in Dante’s Inferno. It is appropriate in many ways, not least of which is that Mazur deeply studied Dante’s masterwork, and had a deep love of all things Italian. One of his major accomplishments was the epic illustration of the Inferno. He made drawings, monoprints, and a complete suite of etchings, illustrating the story of Dante and Virgil’s journey through Hell. This accompanied the translation done by Robert Pinsky, a United States Poet Laureate and dear friend of Michael and Gail Mazur.”    —Wicked Local, June 10, 2020

See our previous post on Mazur’s work here.

Vergil – Halo 3: ODST

“Vergil was a subroutine built into the larger Superintendent artificial intelligence construct of New Mombasa. It later merged with Quick to Adjust, a renegade Covenant Huragok who would subsequently be known as ‘Vergil’ among many humans.

[. . .]

The name Vergil itself is likely a reference to the Divine Comedy, specifically to Virgil, the poet that guides fellow poet Dante through the nine circles of hell and purgatory, much in the same way the Rookie is guided through a metaphorical hell-on-earth, a destroyed New Mombasa, and also through the nine ‘circles’ of audio logs, a reference to the nine circles of hell.”    —Halopedia, August 5, 2019

Learn more about Bungie’s 2009 video game Halo 3: ODST here.

“The Dante Code”

“Renaissance art fans will note that this sketch evokes Botticelli’s famous 1495 portrait of Dante Alighieri, the medieval author of the Divine Comedy. In this cornerstone of Italian literature, Dante describes his mythical journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise, guided first by the shade of the Roman poet Virgil and later by the ghost of Beatrice Portinari, the girl Dante loved in childhood but never married. Among other things, the Divine Comedy is an allegory of Christian suffering and redemption, a romantic love story, a veiled account of Dante’s political exile from his beloved Florence, and a cultural manifesto that established the Italian language as a legitimate literary alternative to Latin. There are no obvious references to Iceland in the Divine Comedy, an epic poem of more than 14,000 lines whose original manuscript has never been found, or in any of Dante’s other works. Nowhere in the various accounts of Dante’s life is it mentioned that he ever visited Iceland. So why are we here?

We’re here because Gianazza has spent the past decade trying to prove his theory that the Divine Comedy is not a mythical story about the afterlife but rather a factual, albeit coded, account of a secret journey to Iceland Dante made in the early 1300s. Why would Dante shlep all the way from exile in sunny Ravenna to a cold, foggy island populated by Scandinavian farmers and their livestock, and not tell anyone? Gianazza believes that Dante was following in the footsteps of medieval Christian warriors called the Knights Templar. He hypothesizes that these knights had visited Iceland a century earlier carrying a secret trove that they concealed in an underground chamber in the Jökulfall Gorge.

The Templars picked Iceland for their hiding place, Gianazza believes, because it was one of the most distant and obscure places known to medieval Europeans, who sometimes identified it with the frozen, semimythical Ultima Thule of classical geography. The Templars calculated the exact coordinates of the chamber and identified landmarks to orient future visitors. Years later Dante acquired the secret knowledge, made a pilgrimage to the site, and then coded the directions into his great epic so that future generations might follow in his footsteps. Like Dante before him, Gianazza is searching for what some might call the Holy Grail, a term that he avoids. Having cracked Dante’s code, he expects to find early Christian texts and perhaps even the lost original manuscript of the Divine Comedy, all sealed in lead to guard them from the damp Icelandic weather. Gianazza launched his quest several years before Dan Brown published The Da Vinci Code, but in some ways he’s a more cautious, real-life version of symbologist Robert Langdon, the hero of Brown’s best-selling thriller.”    –Richard McGill Murphy, Town & Country, January 18, 2013

Waiting for Dante by Roger Williamson

“It was then she appeared, Beatrice, she who would show me, just in time, the illusion of the beast and the spell to return it to the glass.

Virgil, who was able to bring me into this world but not out of it, because of his own self imprisonment in it, began to fade from view and as he paled so Beatrice seemed to absorb his substance and morphed into my new guide.”    –Roger Williamson, Saatchi Art, October 24, 2015

Dante’s Inferno Video Game 10 Years Later

“Released back in 2010 by Visceral Games – the lovely folks who brought us Dead Space – Dante’s Inferno is a creative adaptation of the classic poem. Through its incredible design, gameplay, and narrative, Dante’s Inferno has come to be one of the most exhilarating action games of the 2010s.

For the sake of presenting a more action-driven story, Visceral went ahead and made a few changes to the source material. Whereas Dante is a poet and Beatrice is a symbol of Divine Love in the poem, the former is a soldier and the latter is his lover in the game.

The story begins with Dante during the Third Crusade (1189–1192). In the midst of combat, he is all of a sudden stabbed; he awakens on another plane having to confront the physical embodiment of death. After defeating death, Dante steals his scythe and returns home – only to find his father and love Beatrice dead. This is when Dante discovers the latter’s soul being dragged to Hell by Lucifer. From there, along with his guide Virgil (just like in the poem), Dante transverses through Hell to save his love (laying waste to every demon in his path).

[. . .]

Ten years later and I’m still amazed by this game. From its fantastic action and creative approach to the source material, Dante’s Inferno is a fascinating title. Inferno proved to be a visual treat to me when I first read it; never could I have ever expected how Visceral Games could take such a classic and elevate its imagery. Dante’s Inferno is not only an amazing action game, but it’s also an excellent journey into one of the most nightmarish representations of Hell ever depicted in art.”    –Michael Pementel, Bloody Disgusting, February 4, 2020

“Why we should read Dante as well as Shakespeare”

“Dante can seem overwhelming. T.S. Eliot’s peremptory declaration that ‘Dante and Shakespeare divide the modern world between them: there is no third’ is more likely to be off-putting these days than inspiring. Shakespeare’s plays are constantly being staged and filmed, and in all sorts of ways, with big names in the big parts, and when we see them we can connect with the characters and the issues with not too much effort.

Dante is much more remote – a medieval Italian author, writing about a trip he claims to have made through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise at Easter 1300, escorted first by a very dead poet, Virgil, and then by his dead beloved, Beatrice. and meeting the souls of lots of people we only vaguely know of, if we’ve heard of them at all. First he sees the damned being punished in ways we are likely to find grotesque or repulsive. And then, when he meets souls working their way towards heavenly bliss or already enjoying it, there are increasing doses of philosophy and theology for us to digest.

[. . .]

The addictiveness is evident from the fact that Dante enthusiasts, Christian or not, find it hard to imagine Hell in any other way, and spend happy minutes musing about which circle is best suited to some particular friend, enemy or public figure. Dante thought Paradise was much more difficult to get into and much more difficult to describe. We are certainly not accustomed to prolonged evocations of happiness. Paradiso gives us one way, and an astoundingly dynamic one, of thinking about what human happiness might ultimately be.”    –Peter Hainsworth, Oxford University Press Blog, February 27, 2015

“Dante Inspires Us to Follow Our Own Path”

“The Italian government has designated March 25 as ‘Dantedi,’ a day set aside to honor and pay tribute to Dante Alighieri, ‘Il Sommo Poeta’ (‘The Supreme Poet’). According to scholars, Dante’s journey to Hell, Purgatory and Paradise, which he recounted in his masterpiece, the Divine Comedy began on March 25 (his travels in the afterlife began during Easter week in they year 1300).

This year, 2020, commemorates the 700th anniversary of the completion of the Divine Comedy, Unfortunately, Dante died in 1321, some 150 years before the Divine Comedy was published.

[. . .]

‘Dantedi’ reflects the spirit of the Fourth Canto of the Inferno, depicting Virgil’s welcome as he returns among the great ancient poets spending eternity in Limbo: ‘L’ombra sua torna, ch’era dipartita’ (‘His spirit, which has left us, returns’). Indeed, ‘Dantedi’ is an opportunity for us to welcome Dante’s spirit back to our society – a spirit that encompasses innovation, imagination, inspiration, and intensity. Taken together, those ‘4-i’s’ are the essential ingredients for hope and a brighter future for ourselves and our posterity. And, perhaps, embracing those ‘4-i’s’ will help us to find a way to get through the current global health crisis – to stop this dreaded illness that continues to inflict our world.

Dante’s lesson to all of us: “Segui il tuo corso e lascia dir le gente” (“Follow your own road and let people talk”). Basically, Dante is telling us to follow our own star – to walk our own unique path. And, when things become challenging, Dante reminds us that ‘The path to Paradise begins in Hell.'”    –Hudson Reporter Reader, Hudson Reporter, March 15, 2020

Perpetual Astonishment Blog

“Join the journey, canto by canto, through Dante’s universe. This is a world of beauty, terror, holiness, humor and wisdom that is one of the world’s greatest creations.

[. . .]

This website/blogsite is a response to requests from some that we study and journey together. It will slowly expand through the weeks, months and years… or it will disappear all together. Several of us will begin walking through the entire Divine Comedy by Dante, not with me doing all the work, but with all of us involved in reading a canto a week or so, and then sharing insights, discoveries, etc. I will add other posts as I study in other areas.”    —Perpetual Astonishment, February 17, 2014