Illustrating Dante

Ralph Pite

in The Circle of Our Vision

Published in print June 1994 | ISBN: 9780198112945
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670886 | DOI:
Illustrating Dante

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In the late 18th century, various illustrations of the Commedia began to circulate within English communities such as Sir Joshua Reynolds picture of Ugolino, Henry Fuseli's collection of Inferno-based images, and John Flaxman's complete published set of drawings for the Commedia. Further paintings and drawings that exhibited Dantean themes persisted until the first part of the 19th century. This chapter explains how three different sets of illustrations — presented by Fuseli, Flaxman, and William Blake — adopt a certain understanding of Dante's writings that resembles the interpretations of his translators. Also, the chapter puts forward the idea of how Blake's work makes up a further development that entails an innovative approach in understanding the Commedia.

Keywords: 18th century; 19th century; illustrations; drawings; paintings; William Blake; John Flaxman; Henry Fuseli; interpretation

Chapter.  12339 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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