Dante's Divine Comedy Revived in 3D Video to Celebrate 700 years Since the Poet's Death


Video from AP Archive


"(14 Sep 2021) LEAD IN: September 14 marks 700 years since the death of Dante Alighieri - one of the world's most renowned and influential writers, poets and philosophers. To celebrate his legacy, 130 engravings by French artist Gustav Dorè illustrating the Divine Comedy have been animated in 3D and projected inside the Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence. STORY-LINE: Scenes from 'The Paradise', brought to life inside Filippo Brunelleschi's Renaissance Pazzi Chapel. These famous images are from the work of the French engraver Gustav Dorè who created them to illustrate Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. And now Italian artist Felice Limosani has used modern technology to animate them and bring a new experience of the Italian "Sommo Poeta". Back in the mid 1800s, Dorè made more than 130 engravings to show the poet's journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Now, 700 years since Dante's death, they have been digitized in high resolution and enlarged for a truly atmospheric effect inside the Basilica of Santa Croce. "The genesis of the project Dante Poeta Eterno started over a personal need to bring to the new generations Dante's thinking, story and life and the Divine Comedy, but above all the story of a man able to love a woman. After all, Dante from his exile was able to create the most important poems of all and a love story that still breathes," explains Limosani. The video projection offers an extract of the scenes taken from Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. The idea is to take visitors on the fictional journey the poet used to make his points about religion, morality, politics and society. Lucia Battaglia Ricci is an Italian literature historian who helped Limosani choose from the 135 scenes engraved by Gustave Doré. "Today we read Dante for his big stories, Francesca, Ugolino, Ulysses, re-offering the entire text, cut for practical reasons, re-offering the tale, a tale of redemption from evil to good, the experience of a man who confronts the degradation of life, the suffering to grow and experiments with the highest experience of the vision of God," she says. "So it is a deep moral journey, (it's) useful to get to know the entire text of Dante, from a didactical point of view, but also from a moral point of view, is an extremely involving, powerful experience able to teach a spiritual journey too." Dante's critical acclaim came very soon after his death and his work has been celebrated over the centuries. Limosani felt the need not just to take care of Dante's heritage, but also to add a new technological layer to the visual representation of Dante's and Doré's work. "Along centuries we have passed from the parchment to pixel. The Divine Comedy has been moved to various devices: books, photography, cinema. Today, in the digital era, I felt it was my duty to add another layer to the reinterpretation of the Divine Comedy, so I started from the engraving of Gustave Doré, a majestic work of 135 prints, that today can be animated and not idle." Dante Alighieri died in the night between September the 13 and 14 1321. He was on his way back to Ravenna, one of the many cities where he was forced to find shelter and protection after he was banned from his home town of Florence. Aged 57 when a sudden malarial fever killed him, he was soon after acknowledged as the most iconic poet in Italy and the father of the Italian language. On the 700th anniversary of Dante's death, the entire country is celebrating his work, his art and his heritage. According to him, linking these two fields offers a powerful tool to enhance every of kind cultural heritage. " from video introduction.

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