On a symbolic level, the poems describes the spiritual pilgrimage for the Christian soul from sin (Hell), through purification (Purgatory), and ultimately, to salvation (Paradise). He rejected the Latin of churchmen and scholars and wrote in his native Italian, the language of everyday speech. Dante called his poem a comedy because the piece begins with affliction (hell) and ends with joy (Heaven).
Dante’s Divine Comedy 1308
Florentine poet Dante Alighien (1265-1321)
An adventure packed journey through the realm of the dead.
Every aspect of Dante’s Commedia caries symbolic meaning.
Dante and Virgil with Ovid, Homer, Lucan, and Horace; the Castle of Limbo
Italian illuminated manuscript
Middle of the 15 th century
Priamo della Quercia executed the illuminations for the Inferno and Purgatorio and all three historiated initials, Giovanni di Paolo those for Paradiso.
Cocytus; Punishment of Traitors; Ugolino and Ruggieri .
Dante's Dream of the Eagle; Door of Purgatory; Punishment of the Proud
Virgin and Child in the Celestial Rose His illustrations of the Paradiso are greatly admired for their visual interpretation of the poem: the artist doesn't just transcribe Dante's words but seeks to render their meaning.
Blake's 102 drawings illustrating Dante's Divine Comedy commissioned by John Linnell
British poet, painter, visionary mystic, and engraver, who illustrated and printed his own books .
1824-27 (1757-1827) London
"The Baffled Devils Fighting" As we generally find with Blake's illustrations to the works of other writers, he has paid close attention to the details of Dante's poem . From his early years, he experienced visions of angels and ghostly monks, he saw and conversed with the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary, and various historical figures.
"Dante Running from the Three Beasts" While faithful to the text, Blake also brings his own perspective to bear on some of Dante's central themes, including sin, guilt, punishment, revenge, and salvation.
Wordsworth's verdict after Blake's death reflected many opinions of the time: "There was no doubt that this poor man was mad, but there is something in the madness of this man which interests me more than the sanity of Lord Byron and Walter Scott."
"Minos" Among Blake's later artistic works are drawings and engravings for Dante's Divine Comedy and the 21 illustrations to the book of Job, which was completed when he was almost 70 years old.
"The Circle of the Lustful: Francesca Da Rimini"