Old Work Friday #5

Art Life , Stuff Aug 10, 2012 No Comments

Botticelli (Sandro Filipepi) ca. 1445 – 1510, The Abyss of Hell. Pen and brush on vellum (32 × 47 cm) — c. 1485

“This is Botticelli’s chart of Hell as described by Dante in his 14th century epic poem Inferno. Dante saw Hell as an abyss, a giant cave leading to the center of Earth. The cave was created when God cast Lucifer out of Heaven. Lucifer is stuck in the center, caught in ice. In the story Dante describes his journey through Hell, which he made together with his friend the poet Virgil. Descending, they pass nine rings, representing categories of sins. The first five rings are for people who could not control their desires: lust, gluttony, greed, anger and revenge. Also, unbaptized souls and decent heathens dwell here. Rings six and seven are for heresy and violence: murderers, suicides, blasphemers, and sodomites. Rings eight and nine are for fraud and treachery. Here dwell witches, thieves, astrologers, seducers, corrupt politicians, alchemists and sowers of discord. An interesting detail is that Dante describes meeting the founder of Islam, Muhammad, in that ring. Dante and many of his contemporaries viewed Islam as an off-shoot from Christianity.” – Art & The Bible.

Andrew Frost

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