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Cross Cultural Study of Dante’s Divine Comedy Representations in Different Cultures, Research Paper Example

Pages: 7

Words: 1992

Research Paper

Introduction

This is a case printed in the early 14th century by an Italian politician called Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy is the literary reaction by Dante Alighieri to the bitterly contested politics of feudal Florence. Florence was the richest of states in the Italian if not Europe at the time. The region was under two divisions, the black people and the white people. The black people supported the pope while the white people were against the popes verdicts. The then pope, Boniface VII went ahead and schemed with the black people in Florence to seize power over the region in a military coup. This led to the exiling of Dante and by writing his Divine Comedy; he expresses his hatred of the pope and the entire system. The Divine Comedy is Dante’s provocative fictional account of himself having to travel through the three sets of divine realms (Alighieri, 145). They are hell, Purgatory and finally Heaven. He shows in his passage on how tribulations and misinterpretations occur, eliminating his existence in space. As expected, Dante puts his enemies in Hell. He calls this the inferno since it is dense with the corrupt politicians of Florentine. Dante sees them as sinners, thus their position in Hell. The Divine Comedy is not only a means of payback, but it is also the first work of italic poetry, which is not in Latin. The divine Comedy in its original version was in the vernacular, the language of the common people, the language used by the people of Florentine. Date in this perspective goes a long way into stabilizing the Italian language, fomenting new vocabularies, and finally paving the way for a majority of works Witten in the vernacular language (Alighieri 222). He is indeed a lofty Kahuna in the world of poets. His works brought about the influence in the works of Botticelli, William Blake, and Gustav Dore.

In order to highlight the cross-cultural difference on the relevance of Dante’s work, it is necessary to establish a clear background on Dante’s preview of Poetry. Dante is one person who has undergone a lot in his life and has resurfaced back to his previous positions. Few poets of his time have managed to re-establish themselves as a man of people like Dante did. Within a few weeks, he was able to move from an ordinary poet, to a famous poet, and finally an influential citizen and politician in his hometown in Florence (Dante & Charles 89). Even after eviction and exile, Dante remained an influential figure in Florence. He takes a stand of a person who had it all, only to lose what he cherished under the scrutiny of the pope. All the unpublished works, his home, family and governmental position were lost, with his eviction from Florence. This is the point of his writing where the Inferno begins. The poetry is about not only punishment and revenge; it is about a ordinary man who is trying to retrace his steps after falling. It is about a person trying to establish his essentials and find some meaning in his hard-endured life. Establishing this fact is crucial because the people across the cultures use this turning point of Dante to highlight in their works. The like of Botticelli, William Blake and Gustav have had some experiences in their lives, which they marginalize with the work of Dante.

In establishing the cultural representation of Dante’s works across different cultures, it is essential to highlight the significance of the Divine Comedy to them and their works. The inferno is a story of people who have been pressed to the culmination of their rope. It also related to the people who have some experience of what Dante is talking about in his book. Instead of showing loss in monetary values, Dante emphasizes that the loss of spiritual motivation is crucial (Dante and Charles 134). He asserts that the loss of dignity or ethical compass is immense, and requires the introspective aspect of a person to get back to track. The work examples of the discussed persons portray this aspect of Dante’s work in their own works.

Sandro Botticelli

He also goes by the name of Alessandro Filipepi born in the year 1444. He began his career while Italy was facing its Renaissance period. His birthplace was in Florence, where he lived entirely the rest of his life. He was the first born among five siblings, and had the obligation to take overhaul of the family. His father at first allowed him to practice apprentice with a goldsmith. This gave rise to his name Botticelli, which literally means ‘little barrel.’ However, Sandro persuaded his father to allow him to study painting, which he preferred to goldsmith. His father agreed, and he was chosen to become the apprentice of a famous painter known as Fra Fillipo Lippi. Filippo Lippi was an established painter who used color when painting church altarpieces. This made his work famous all over Italy (Lightbown 78). Sandro developed the same similar style that Lippi used. However, Sandro diversified in his works and developed the use of tender expressions in his paintings and the gestures of his subjects. He also used decorative details in every aspect to highlight and diversify his works. This made him famous in the whole of Florence.

He was only at his tender age of 15years when he opened his own workshop, and dedicated his life to painting. People from all over recognized him as a young artistic painter and many would sort for his skills. He chose to have many apprentices to handle and complete his work. It was at this time that he became accosted to the writing of Dante. He was looking for a way to highlight his work and assign his trademark. The Divine Comedy, by Dante, provided a good forum. This is because the composition entailed the presence of spiritual diversities and realms. This includes hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Sandro chose to specialize in the drawing of church paintings. However, he made his paintings in such a technique that it comprises the works of the church and a touch of pagan rites. He also used Neo-Platonism to register his works (Mattern 354). He took the liberty of painting the works of Dante while he was in Hell. This led to enormous conflicts between him and the church. The church saw the portraits and paints of Sandro as ungodly and unethical. They diminished and demoralized his works, which lead to Sandro being banned from painting any scriptures for the church. This made Sandro bitter, and like Dante, he underwent a substantial transformation. He chose to lean on the civic side of the society and fight for equality by the church.

He used Dante’s work and influence to paint pictures of how the church oppressed people. This shows the relationship that sprout between Botticelli and Dante. He used Dante’s features to highlight his work. He would paint many paintings of Dante’s work, while in hell, Purgatory and Heaven. He would show people this works and they would in turn incite people against the negative oppression of the church. The civic role he undertook brought a negative theme in his works and most of his friends abandoned him. It is said that he underwent considerable tribulations, and he tried to reinvent himself through his paintings. Some people say that Sandro died a poor and lonely man in Florence.

 

William Blake

He was the child of a draper from Westminster. His birthdate was on 28 November, in the year 1757. He joined Par Drawing School at the tender age of eleven years. He became an apprentice to the famous James Basire, three years later, who was an engraver to the bestowed Royal Society of Antiquaries. He married on 1782 and was employed by Joseph Johnson a radical bookseller. Johnson also took a stand in religious views, and was the leader head in establishing London’s first chapel in 1775. He influenced Blake’s opinions on the issue of religious views and stands. It was while working for Joseph, when William knew about Dante’s works. Blake drew painting of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and to date there have been 102 of them. He used the expression of freedom in handling colors that showed a swift transition of emotions from one stage to the other. Blake paid close attention to the works of Dante as most of his work show (Chesterton 256). While sticking to Dante’s text and illusions, Blake also brings his own perceptions to highlight on Dante’s central themes such as guilt, revenge, punishment and salvation.

Most of his designs reveal pictorial imagery, mostly when highlighting some iconography that indicate critical attitude towards the works of Dante. Blake criticizes Dante in most of his paintings that highlight a critical attitude towards the works of Dante. A good example is his famous painting, Le branch, which highlights some criticism of Dante’s presence in heaven while showing some sense of intellectual sympathy. Most of Blake’s works have a colloquial design of Dante’s work, which highlights some form of misconception (Chesterton 258). Blake was among the writers who saw sense in what was trying to put across, but was against his method of doing it in the society. Blake was more of a sensitive and emotional person in his works, compared to the other poets who used the works of Dante to present the issues.

Gustav Dore’

Gustav Dore’ was the second born of three children. His father, Pierre Louis Dore’ was an Engineer by profession while his mother Alexandrine was a homemaker. He was born in Strasbourg, France on sixth of January 1832.  His first published works were in Paris the year 1847. He first worked as a caricaturist before gaining fame and becoming an illustrator in 1854. This was after working on a selected book by Francois Rabelais. The other commissions he has received from books are works by Miguel de Cervantes, Honoree de Balzac, John Milton and Dante Aguilera. Gustav illustrations and the Divine Comedy by Dante have be so close that up to date reference is made on the illustration to draw conclusions (Alighieri 198). He found it difficult to get a publisher who was willing to undertake the risk of his illustrations from various works. He, therefore, financed his first book of the series inferno, by Dante. The production emulated an instant commercial and artistic success.

The works of Dore’ appeared in a multiple of 200 languages, which he translated from the original works of Dante. This was a enormous success, which pushed the fame of Gustav to another level. Few literary series of Dore’s illustrations got a substantial hit such as the divine Comedy illustrations. Gustav used an electric mix of Michelangelesque nudes, the presence of northern traditions coming from sublime landscape and the use of certain elements of popular culture. This was a unique mixture, which not only elaborated the work of Dante, but also gave the works different diversities. These achievements crowned Gustav’s ultimate success. He used an artist skill and resemblance, which drew attention globally (Alighieri 205). One person wrote that the work of Gustav and Dante seem to be intertwining, and it seems as if the two are in communication. However, the illustrations brought indifferences with the church. The church viewed his works as defiance of God work.

Conclusion

The works of Dante have spread across multiple cultures across the world. His unique representation of ideas and self has seen to it that most people used his notions in their works. It is undoubtedly that his works of Divine Comedy still represent a unique and intrinsic method of displaying feelings. He truly is a master of poetry and literature in general.

 

Works CitedAlighieri, Dante. Works of Dante Alighieri. Boston: MobileReference.com, 2010. Internet resource.

Chesterton, G K. William Blake. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005. Print.

Dante, Alighieri, and Charles E. Norton. Paradise [paradiso]. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Pub, 2000. Print.

Lightbown, R W. Sandro Botticelli: Life and Work. New York: Abbeville Press, 1989. Print.

Mattern, Joanne. Sandro Botticelli. Edina, Minn: Abdo Pub, 2005. Internet resource.

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