Death of Dante

2014

Ink on Cardboard

70x50 cm

 

 

 

 

Death of Dante

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Dante’s Divine Comedy describes his journey to Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, accompanied by Beatrice and Virgil. Here the poet faces death and gets a taste of the afterlife he had portrayed in his works. Banished to Hell, he is chained along with Beatrice and Virgil, to atone for his false representation of the realm of the dead. The discrepancy between what he experienced in his imagination and what he is actually going through now, and the punishment inflicted on him has come as a crushing blow.

Somewhere in the book of Purgatory, Dante describes an angel thus: “he would bless one, were he but described.”

When you consider this quote in the context of such narratives where portrayals and descriptions of the appearance of things “bless” one with delight, amusement, and thrill, you wonder if an actual encounter with such phenomena is as interesting as their descriptions. Perhaps we are going to end up like Dante whose amusing vision of the other world turned out to be the exact opposite of the harrowing reality he eventually encountered.