Sebastian Schütze, Maria Antonietta Terzoli con William Blake: The drawings for Dante's Divine Comedy“…an invaluable resource and a lovely book to spend quality time with.”
— Dublin Review of Books, Dublin
Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy (completed in 1321) is widely considered the greatest work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. On the surface, the poem describes Dante's travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven; but at a deeper level, it represents the soul's journey towards God. 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 suffering to light, from horrifying human disfigurement to the perfection of physical form. While faithful to the text, Blake also brought his own perspective to bear on some of Dante's central themes, introducing his own elements of understanding to such vast ideas as sin, guilt, punishment, revenge, and salvation. Today, Blake s illustrations, left in various stages of completion at the time of his death, are dispersed among seven different institutions. This new edition brings the images together once again, alongside excerpts from Dante's masterpiece, in a stunning pairing of two of the finest artistic talents in history. Also included are an introduction to the Divine Comedy and an analysis of Blake s illustrations."