“An original painting by Felix d’Eon available as a giclee print with a stamp indicating it is an original from the Felix d’Eon studio in Mexico, archival, fine art paper, ink” —Felix d’Eon, Amor Condusse noi ad una Morte, Etsy, (retrieved on February 29, 2024)
“On the 14th of September, 1321, Dante Alighieri died in exile. He was called a lot of things —poet, artist, philosopher —but at the time his most prominent label was heretic. He was such a threat to the church that, eight years after his burial, Cardinal Bertrand du Pouget demanded the man’s bones be dug up and burned at the stake.
Ask any historian how he died and they’ll answer malaria, but his story is written by the victors, and arsenic poisoning wasn’t quite as easy to spot in the fourteenth century.
I’ve never read Dante’s Inferno, which is strictly banned in the Darling household, but after spending the last two weeks researching all things hellish with Saul, I know the poem pretty well.
In this early epic poem, the bottom layer of hell is described as freezing cold, an icy lake where Satan dwells.
This characterization didn’t stick around, and look where it got Dante.” —Chuck Tingle, Camp Damascus (July 18, 2023)
To read more or to purchase the book, visit Macmillan Publishers.
Contributed by Zoe D’Alessandro, Florida State University ’21
The music video for Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” has drawn many comparisons to Dante’s Inferno for its depiction of the singer’s descent to hell (and eventual lap dance of Satan). Here are a few quotes from media outlets:
“2021 is here, purgatory is (almost) over, and Lil Nas X is our Dante.” –Halle Keifer for Vulture
“Artists have been imagining trips to hell for hundreds of years without anyone raising too much fuss, but then Dante wasn’t a gay black pop star. Also, as far as anyone knows, Dante didn’t promote the Divine Comedy by selling a limited-edition sneaker made with human blood, which is the approach Lil Nas X has been taking with ‘Montero.’ On Friday, news broke that Lil Nas X and MSCHF had collaborated on ‘Satan Shoes,’ a limited release of modified Nike Air Maxes decorated with pentagrams and a reference to Luke 10:18 (‘And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’) They’re only making 666 individually numbered pairs of shoes, and each one is made with a drop of real human blood. Not surprisingly, Nike wants everyone to know they had nothing to do with any of this.” –Matthew Dessem in Slate
“In the ‘Montero’ video, Lil Nas X journeys from Garden of Eden to Dante’s inferno by sliding down a stripper pole (truly, twigs is correct in calling it iconic) [. . .].” –Meagan Fredette for W Magazine
Watch the video on YouTube (accessed April 14, 2021)
“Dante’s three-part epic poem portrays the journey souls take after death. Essentially a socio-economic commentary on Florentine life, with strong moral undertones and focus on the human condition, its themes can be adapted to any time. Today, in the face of Covid-19, the 700-year-old Commedia resonates strongly. Now is a perfect time to reflect on the work through its visual depictions. Although countless artists have illustrated the work since its medieval publication – Sandro Botticelli, Gustave Doré, and John Flaxman, to name a few – modern artists have shown how its relevance lives on to this day. Perhaps the most progressive modern rendering of Dante’s epic to date is seen through the work of artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008).
“Dante is ambiguous in his writing on the Sodomites, reflecting the reticence surrounding the subject of homosexuality in his day. Rauschenberg mirrors this ambiguity in his illustration with an empty speech bubble beneath a red outline of his own traced foot. The tracing inserts Rauschenberg into the narrative just as Dante the Poet occasionally appears in the text, separate from Dante the Pilgrim, a personal touch that is seldom seen in Commedia illustrations.” [. . .] —Flora Igoe, The Art Story Blog, 2020
See Rauschenberg’s full Inferno series here.
“On Season 1 Episode 2 of Rupaul’s Drag Race: Vegas Revue, Yvie Oddly claims that she is ‘in the seventh circle of hell’ when describing the chaos backstage of a live performance.” –Contributor Ellie Marvin
Watch the full episode, which aired August 28, 2020, on VH1.
Contributed by Ellie Marvin (Florida State University MA ’21)