Dante’s Gaze/ Lo Sguardo di Dante

Friday September 17th 2021 by Peter Thomas Lang



Dante’s Gaze/ Lo Sguardo di Dante


Dante Alighieri’s 700 year anniversary is bringing fresh focus on the Florentine poet’s life and work. Dante Alighieri’s portrayal of his incredible voyage through Inferno, Purgatory and Paradiso is masterfully vivid, giving you the sense that you are there with him. Dante would prefer us to believe his poetic world, the Divine Comedy, is not a dream, but is based on direct personal experiences. Dante’s supreme opus works on many levels–spiritual, linguistic, literary, philosophical, political–  but what makes his journey so evocative is his careful attention to circumstantial details. Dante’s surreal landscapes are believable because you can feel the stones under foot, you can smell the odors of the forest, you can hear the songbirds sing. He accomplishes this precisely because he gives descriptions of the geological provenance of the different rocks, he brings to life the kinds of grass and plants he describes around him, as well as names the types of birds flying overhead. But he goes much further: you learn about the effects of gravity and weightlessness, the properties of light and shadow, the disincopation of sounds across space, you experience the multiple dimensions of time. Underpinning Dante’s universe is this real sense of the natural and physical surroundings. It comes as no surprise that artists, painters, and in this last century filmmakers have been passionately drawn into Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Dante was an early-spelunker, an avid climber, a hardened explorer, and if you can imagine him going from planet to planet, an original cosmonaut as well. Dante spoke of splendid reflections, of inverted images, of mirages, of capturing likenesses. Did Dante through the mirror anticipate the photograph? Was the immense marble relief he described that looked so “accurate”  and made sounds a portent of cinema? Welcome, then, to Dante’s Gaze. Make some of his observations your own!

Convivial Events (Convivi):

I. Games in Inferno

Moderators: Stefano Mirti. Director LAPIS: Scuola Superiore di Arte Applicata. Milan. Alberto Iacovoni, Coordinator, Masters Program, European Institute of Design. IED. Rome.

Participants: Alessandra Contin Media critic, IT magazine; Fabio Porfidia, Illustrator and Game Artist; Virginia Sutera, Music Composer; Jaime D’Alessandro, Media critic La Repubblica Newspaper.

II. Contemporary Arts in Purgatory

Moderators: Elena Abbiatici, Curator, Art Historian. Valentina Gioia Levy, Artistic Director GAD, Giudecca Art Center.

Participants: Stefano Cagul, multi-media artist; Marzia Migliora, artist; Jetish Kallat, artist; Elena Mazzi, and Sara Tirelli, artists; Peter De Curpere

 Light in Paradiso

III. Moderator: Chiara Capodici, founder and director of Leporello Gallery, Rome.

Constantino Sigismondi, Fabiana Piccioli, Heike Baranowsky, Riccardo Arena.

Peter Lang, Curator

Alessandro Coco, Project Director, Ministero di Beni Culturali, ICCD, Roma.

Giorgio di Noto, Production Coordinator. Rome.

Carlotta Valente, Creative Coordinator for Historical Photography

700 year Celebration of Dante, 2021.
With the Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali Ic-cd