Visions of Dante. The Inferno according to Botticelli

In the year of the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum welcomes to its galleries two exceptional drawings by Sandro Botticelli alluding to the Inferno from the Divine Comedy, on loan from the Vatican Apostolic Library, in addition to other works from this same institution, from the Gulbenkian Museum and from other collections.

At the centre of this unique bilingual publication (in English and Portuguese) we find the two drawings by Sandro Botticelli reproduced in a four-fold panel alongside the texts of the cantos they illustrate and their respective translations. From this central motif, the remainder of the publication is divided between texts and the catalogue of exhibited works.

The first part brings together a remarkable set of essays by renowned specialists in the Dantean universe and by other prominent authors from the cultural panorama to have been touched by it. After three institutional texts, Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça writes about the inestimable bibliographic and artistic value of Dante’s work, and of the special place it occupies in the Vatican Apostolic Library. This is followed by an intimate text by Alberto Manguel on how he was captivated by the Divine Comedy. João R. Figueiredo, one of the scientific advisors for the exhibition and this publication, guides the reader through the context of the work’s creation and decodes several of its characters and episodes. Meanwhile, Lucia Battaglia Ricci, a historian specialising in Italian literature, explores the Dantean theme as translated into the images of Sandro Botticelli. This is followed by an essay by Paulo Pires do Vale, who contextualises Dante’s Inferno within the works of Rui Chafes. Finally, the curator of the exhibition, João Carvalho Dias, takes us on a journey through the exhibition Visions of Dante itself and its works.

The second part of the publication reproduces all the works exhibited, with special reference to the catalogue entries on the drawings of Sandro Botticelli by scientific advisor Teresa Bartolomei and by Luísa Sampaio, curator at the Gulbenkian Museum, on the works by René Lalique and Rodin.

The publication is further enriched by quotations from the Inferno of the Divine Comedy in both English and Portuguese.

Technical information

Alberto Manguel, Cardeal D. José Tolentino de Mendonça, João Carvalho Dias, João R. Figueiredo, Lucia Battaglia Ricci, Luísa Sampaio, Paulo Pires do Vale, Teresa Bartolomei
Portuguese / English
Editorial coordination:
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
310 mm x 250 mm
Updated on 11 october 2022

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