William Blake. The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy

William Blake. The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy

4.41 (108 ratings by Goodreads)

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Celebrated around the world as a literary monument, The Divine Comedy, completed in 1321 and written by Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) is widely considered the greatest work ever composed in the Italian language. The epic poem describes Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, representing, on a deeper level, the soul's path towards salvation.

In the last few years of his life, Romantic poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827) produced 102 illustrations for Dante's masterwork, from pencil sketches to finished watercolors. Like Dante's sweeping poem, Blake's drawings range from scenes of infernal suffering to celestial light, from horrifying human disfigurement to the perfection of physical form. While faithful to the text, Blake also brought his own perspective to some of Dante's central themes.

Today, Blake's illustrations, left in various stages of completion at the time of his death, are dispersed among seven different institutions. This TASCHEN edition brings these works together again, alongside key excerpts from Dante's masterpiece. Two introductory essays consider Dante and Blake, as well as other major artists who have been inspired by The Divine Comedy, including Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Dore and Auguste Rodin.

With a close reading of Blake's illustrations, and 14 fold-out spreads to allow the most delicate of details to dazzle, this is a breathtaking encounter with two of the finest artistic talents in history, as well as with such universal themes as love, guilt, punishment, revenge, and redemption.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 324 pages
  • 285 x 395 x 76.2mm | 4,018g
  • Cologne, Germany
  • English
  • 3836555123
  • 9783836555128
  • 275,056

Review quote

"This book from TASCHEN - this monstrous, divine in itself, outrageously most beautiful book I have in my collection (and have ever owned) - is more about Blake than it is Dante, and yet, for all its epic classicalism, Divine Comedy without Blake is only half the book it should be... 324 cloth bound pages with 14 fold out spreads make this so much more than a simple 'art book' - it's actually something of an experience...To wrap up: All writers sit in Dante's shadow when it comes to relaying simple concepts of great importance. Blake on the other hand, makes all artists who followed him seem lacking in their understanding of the workings of the world and of what goes on behind the curtain. And then there's TASCHEN, who put all other art publishers to shame on a grand scale. My work here is complete." "A fitting tribute for Dante's 750th anniversary year, this exquisite book unites Blake's designs in one monumental tome. Produced to the highest standard in kaleidoscopic colour, this is a work to be treasured by lay readers and scholars alike... It is this book, in all its colour and complexity, which carries Blake's final word forward - a dazzling vision, burning bright." "...an invaluable resource and a lovely book to spend quality time with." "...a beautiful symbiosis on the themes of love, guilt, punishment, revenge, and redemption."
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About Sebastian Schütze

Sebastian Schutze was a longtime research fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Max Planck Institute for Art History) in Rome. He is a member of the academic board of the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici in Naples, and a member of the OEsterreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. From 2003 to 2009 he held the Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art at Queen's University in Kingston. In 2009 he was appointed professor of early modern art history at Vienna University. After studying in Pavia, Bologna, and Geneva, Maria Antonietta Terzoli taught at the universities of Geneva and Zurich. Since 1991 she has been a professor at the University of Basel, where she is head of the department of Italian Studies. A philologist and interpreter of literary text, she specializes in Italian literature.
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Rating details

108 ratings
4.41 out of 5 stars
5 62% (67)
4 21% (23)
3 13% (14)
2 4% (4)
1 0% (0)
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