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Domenico di Michelino – Dante’s Divine Comedy


Domenico di Michelino (1417–1491) was an Italian painter. In this painting, entitled: La commedia illumina Firenze (“The Comedy Illuminating Florence”), which dates from around 1465, the medieval poet Dante Alighieri stands, a red-robed colossus, revealing his poem The Divine Comedy to the city of Florence . The artist shows the three regions in the Christian afterlife:  Hell, Mount Purgatory and the earthly Paradise (with Adam and Eve) and the celestial spheres.


On the left is the procession of sinners being led down to the circles of Hell. You can see the souls in hell eternally pursuing a banner. In Dante’s poem he states these are souls that are constantly pursued by wasps that sting them continuously.


Behind Dante the artist creates the seven terraces of Purgatory, with Adam and Eve representing Earthly Paradise on top. Above Adam and Eve, is the sun and the moon that represent Heavenly Paradise.


The gate of the seven levels of Purgatory is guarded by an angel who is shown at the center. These seven levels of purgatory correspond to the seven deadly sins.

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  1. Pingback: Westworld and Contrapasso: The Intricacies of Inversion in a Modern Hell – thehistoryofwesternthought

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