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William Blake. The drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy

Hardcover, clothbound, with 14 fold-outs, 11.2 x 15.6 in., 8.84 lb, 324 pages
US$ 150
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Two creative masterminds and universal themes of love, guilt, revenge, and redemption come together in this exceptional edition of William Blake’s 102 illustrations for Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The XL-sized volume includes 14 fold-out spreads, two introductory essays tracing Dante’s legacy in the visual arts, and excerpts from the Commedia itself.

Customer reviews (1)

Imagination ablaze

William Blake's spectacular illustrations to The Divine Comedy
Celebrated 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.
The authors

Sebastian Schütze was a longtime research fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Max Planck Institute for Art History) in Rome. He is a member of the academic board of the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici in Naples, and a member of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. From 2003 to 2009 he held the Bader Chair in Southern Baroque Art at Queen’s University in Kingston. In 2009 he was appointed professor of early modern art history at Vienna University.

After studying in Pavia, Bologna, and Geneva, Maria Antonietta Terzoli taught at the universities of Geneva and Zurich. Since 1991 she has been a professor at the University of Basel, where she is head of the department of Italian Studies. A philologist and interpreter of literary text, she specializes in Italian literature.

William Blake. The drawings for Dante’s Divine Comedy
Hardcover, clothbound, with 14 fold-outs, 11.2 x 15.6 in., 8.84 lb, 324 pages

Customer reviews (1)

Stendhal syndrom for Taschen

Manfredi, October 27, 2021
I have always loved books since I was little. Their rectangular, rigid and clean shape. The smell of paper, the texture and the colors. Then I discovered Taschen and my love for art books became something special. William Blake is one of my favorite artists and being able to look at his masterpieces with incredible descriptions, all collected in another masterpiece is an emotion that makes me smile every time I open the book. If a book syndrome existed it would be called Taschen…