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“When I had journeyed half of our life’s way…”*

Surely the best-known artist to illustrate The Divine Comedy, Dante’s tour of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, was Gustave Doré, whose iconic folio was published in 1861.  But countless artists– from Botticelli to Dali– have been inspired by the poet’s visionary allegory.  The image above is from Jean-Édouard Dargent (also known as Yan’ Dargent), a rival of Doré’s, who also published (in 1870) a book illustrating Dante’s epic.  Instead of Doré’s polished, classical nudes and precise lines, Dargent strikes a more primitive, violent tone, a little rough around the edges.

See more of his Divine work at “Amazing 19th-Century Illustrations of The Divine Comedy“; and see (even) more of the images in larger format here.

*Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita When I had journeyed half of our life’s way,
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, I found myself within a shadowed forest,
ché la diritta via era smarrita. for I had lost the path that does not stray.
Canto 1, 1

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As we pack for an extended journey, we might send a witty birthday sketch to Aubrey Beardsley; he was born on this date in 1872.  An artist and illustrator, Beardsley was (with James MacNeil Whistler and Oscar Wilde, whose work Beardsley illustrated) a leading figure in the Aesthetic Movement.  His career was short– he died at 25 of tuberculosis– but his work was a formative influence in the development of both Art Nouveau and Poster Style.

“The Peacock Skirt”, for Oscar Wilde’s play Salomé (1892)

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Written by LW

August 21, 2013 at 1:01 am

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