Portraits of Italian literary greats (L) Giovanni Boccaccio and Dante, by Andrea del Castagno and texts by Dante or inspired by him are among some of the around 300 works at the “Dante: The Vision of Art” exhibition. (Fabio Blaco/The Uffizi Galleries)
Nearly 700 years ago, in September 1321, the Italian literary great Dante Alighieri died.
Dante wrote poetry and important theoretical works on a wide range of topics, including moral philosophy and political thought. For his works, he drew inspiration from the ancient classics by writers such as Virgil and Cicero.
In Florence, Dante sat on the Council of Priors, a position of high governance. His opposition to the pope’s annexing of Tuscan land led eventually to his being sentenced to death if he were to set foot in Florence again.
It is believed that Dante wrote most of his best works, including “The Divine Comedy,” his most famous, when he was in exile. Rather fittingly, a commemorative exhibition called “Dante: The Vision of Art” recently opened at the San Domenico Museums of Forlì, in northern Italy, the very town that Dante fled to in 1302, from Arezzo (80 miles southeast of Florence).
The exhibition is a joint collaboration of The Uffizi Galleries in Florence and the Cassa dei Risparmi of the Forlì Foundation.
The exhibition draws together around 300 artworks from world-class museum collections across the globe. The Uffizi Galleries alone have contributed some 50 works, including famous portraits of the poet and a set of drawings by Michelangelo.
It’s an unprecedented exhibition, both in scale and scope, demonstrating Dante’s influence on art from the 13th century right through to the 20th century and how he inspired artists from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Neoclassical, and Romantic eras.
“It’s the first time through the centuries you’ll see the importance and visual fortune of not only the ‘Divine Comedy,’ but really all the literary production of the great poet. We’ll even zoom in on the most famous and important Dante characters through the centuries,” the director of The Uffizi Galleries, Eike Schmidt, said in a press video interview.
Included in the exhibition are first editions of “The Divine Comedy.” Highlights also include many visual interpretations of Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, the work’s three sections. The exhibition ends with images of Heaven inspired by Paradise Canto XXXIII.
The exhibition “Dante: The Vision of Art,” at the San Domenico Museums in Forlì, runs until July 11. To find out more, visit MostraDante.it