“This monstrous, divine in itself, most beautiful book is more about Blake than it is Dante, and yet, for all its epic classicalism, Divine Comedy without Blake is only half the book it should be. To wrap up: All writers sit in Dante's shadow when it comes to relaying simple concepts of great importance. Blake on the other hand, makes all artists who followed him seem lacking in their understanding of the workings of the world and of what goes on behind the curtain. And then there's TASCHEN, who put all other art publishers to shame on a grand scale. My work here is complete.”
“A fitting tribute for Dante’s 750th anniversary year, this exquisite book unites Blake’s designs in one monumental tome. Produced to the highest standard in kaleidoscopic colour, this is a work to be treasured by lay readers and scholars alike… It is this book, in all its colour and complexity, which carries Blake’s final word forward – a dazzling vision, burning bright.”
“…an invaluable resource and a lovely book to spend quality time with.”
„…a beautiful symbiosis on the themes of love, guilt, punishment, revenge, and redemption.“
William Blake. The drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy
750 years on from Dante's birth, William Blake's spectacular illustrations to The Divine ComedyCelebrated around the world as a literary monument, The Divine Comedy, completed in 1321 and written by Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) is widely considered the greatest work ever composed in the Italian language. The epic poem describes Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, representing, on a deeper level, the soul's path towards salvation.
In the last few years of his life, Romantic poet and artist William Blake (1757–1827) produced 102 illustrations for Dante’s masterwork, from pencil sketches to finished watercolors. Like Dante's sweeping poem, Blake's drawings range from scenes of infernal suffering to celestial light, from horrifying human disfigurement to the perfection of physical form. While faithful to the text, Blake also brought his own perspective to some of Dante's central themes.
Today, Blake’s illustrations, left in various stages of completion at the time of his death, are dispersed among seven different institutions. This TASCHEN edition brings these works together again, alongside key excerpts from Dante's masterpiece. Two introductory essays consider Dante and Blake, as well as other major artists who have been inspired by The Divine Comedy, including Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, Eugène Delacroix, Gustave Doré and Auguste Rodin.
With a close reading of Blake’s illustrations, and 14 fold-out spreads to allow the most delicate of details to dazzle, this is a breathtaking encounter with two of the finest artistic talents in history, as well as with such universal themes as love, guilt, punishment, revenge, and redemption.