Imag(in)ing Dante: an illustrated manuscript of the Divine Comedy (with complete set of drawings)

Of the several hundreds of manuscripts of Dante’s Divine Comedy, about a hundred have some illumination or decoration, drawn or painted. Of these, London British Library Harley MS 3460 is a remarkable specimen. The manuscript contains illustrations of the scenes covering cantos 1-20 of Inferno, drawn in plummet in the lower part of the page.Continue reading “Imag(in)ing Dante: an illustrated manuscript of the Divine Comedy (with complete set of drawings)”

A petition for a public reading of Dante

When’s the last time a group of local residents petitioned the government to arrange for a public reading of Dante’s Commedia? The answer to that question is: the summer of 1373. In the summer of that year, a petition was presented to the Signoria of Florence, on behalf of a number of Florentine citizens, askingContinue reading “A petition for a public reading of Dante”

Dante’s windmills

The final canto of Inferno opens, ex abrupto, with one of the most powerful images in the whole of the canticle: a mockery of the 6th-century hymn ‘Vexilla regis’: ‘Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni verso di noi; però dinanzi mira», disse ’l maestro mio, «se tu ’l discerni». “Vexilla regis prodeunt inferni toward us; and therefore keepContinue reading “Dante’s windmills”

Giovanni de Serravalle’s Latin translation of the Divine Comedy

The reversal of Dante’s popularity at the end of the medieval period starts with an apparently popular move: translating the Divine Comedy into Latin. Meant to boost interest in the poet’s magnum opus, it signed its decline for at least 200 years. Humanism was about Latin, not the vernacular, about antiquity, not medieval science andContinue reading “Giovanni de Serravalle’s Latin translation of the Divine Comedy”

When Dante’s Commedia became divine

Dante may have been the most imaginative and transgressive medieval poet, but he was also one of the most immodest authors since Antiquity. It is well known that what we came to call ‘The Divine Comedy’ (“La Divina Commedia“) was initially known simply as ‘La Commedia di Dante Alaghieri di Fiorenze‘. It was Boccaccio who laterContinue reading “When Dante’s Commedia became divine”