There are few names as famed as that of the late great Italian poet Dante Alighieri. Even if you haven’t picked up his now easily accessible work, The Divine Comedy, his name has become commonplace in popular culture.
His words have been used by many authors and were even quoted by the late socialist revolutionary Karl Marx. But if you haven’t read any work by Marx then you will find that it’s more familiar in the works of Dan Brown.
To commemorate the 700th year since his death, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence is paying homage to the man known as the father of the Italian language with a vast artistic program. This includes a virtual exhibition themed around his most famous work, The Divine Comedy.
The A riveder le stelle (to see the stars again) online exhibition is based on the three major sections of The Divine Comedy – Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. This epic, allegorical poem, which dates from the early 14th century, traces a journey through the circles of hell and the mountain of purgatory to the spheres of heaven.
At the end of the 16th century, the Italian painter Federico Zuccari created almost 90 illustrations of The Divine Comedy, which art fans can now see on the Uffizi Gallery website. The colours are bleak, mostly grey pencil and red clay overlaid, which definitely give off the feeling that one is looking at hell.
Although not gory, the art is macabre as is the description of the layers of hell that Dante wrote of. Three-headed creatures and goblin looking demons are scattered across the layers with thousands of writhing humans.
Although the illustrations have been part of the Florence museum’s collection since 1738, they have rarely been exhibited due to their fragility. They went on public display for the first time in Florence in 1865 to mark the 600th anniversary of Dante’s birth.
They were not publicly exhibited again until 1993. For this online exhibition, the illustrations have been digitized in high definition and organized like a journey – in stages – allowing virtual visitors to admire them for the first time in their entirety and in detail.
“The Uffizi Gallery is really proud to open the anniversary of the great poet’s death by making this extraordinary collection of graphic art available to all,” explains the museum’s director, Eike Schmidt, in a statement.
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This online show precedes “Dante. The vision of art,” an ambitious retrospective organized by the Uffizi Gallery with the Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì Foundation. It is scheduled to run 12 March to 14 July in the San Domenico museums, Fiesole, COVID-19 restrictions permitting.
This exhibition will include masterpieces by Michelangelo, Andrea del Castagno, Pontormo and Federico Zuccari. Find the online digitized version here at the Uffizi Gallery website.
Source: AFP Relax News