The Florentine poet Dante Alighieri, 700 years ago this month, died in Ravenna at the age of 56. His most famous work, the Inferno section of his epic poem Divine Comedy, plunges readers into a hellish and hideous realm. “Dante and Shakespeare divide the world between them,” said the poet T. S. Eliot. “There is no third.” The Inferno has inspired countless works, among them Michelangelo’s Last Judgement, Rodin’s Gates of Hell, and art by William Blake, Eugene Delacroix, Salvador Dalí, and Robert Rauschenberg. This exhibition explores different artistic interpretations of Dante’s Hell and its nine circles. Themes of madness, alienation, war, and extermination coexist in the gallery space. But the show closes with visions of salvation, a nod to Dante’s final line, “Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.” —E.C.
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