Stradano’s Inferno

Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground. – Dante Alighieri

canto 3

An interesting contrast to Doré’s inferno, this is the work of Jan Van der Straet (known also as Stradanus or Stradano) (1523-1605). Stradano’s work stands somewhat midway on the journey from Dante’s immortal poem to Dore’s engravings of the Inferno. Dante (c. 1265-1321) wrote his poem during the Middle Ages. Stradano did his illustrations some two centuries later in Dante’s birthplace of Florence in the service of the Medici and Giorgio Vasari. (He also collaborated with the great printmaker Hieronymous Cock, who converted Pieter Bruegel’s pen and ink drawings into copper engravings.)

canto 5 canto 6canto 12 canto 13 canto 17 canto 18 canto 25 canto 33 canto 34

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2 Responses to Stradano’s Inferno

  1. Paul Rumsey says:

    The series of hunting scenes by Stradanus are interesting also…. they have a surreal space to them, a bit like De Chirico, a compact, self contained world like a toy theatre, and like some Bruegel prints, with stocky little figures. They are funny also, they show how to hunt bears, by wearing a suit of armour, how to catch leopards with mirrors, (because they fall in love with their own reflections), and also how to hunt satyrs, unicorns and dragons.
    Another series that I like, the Punchinello drawings by Domenico Tiepolo, there are over 100 of them, starting with him born from an egg, through to his burial.

  2. trueoutsider says:

    For a moment there, I thought Waldo might have had a chance to slip by unnoticed…ah, well.

    Thanks for bringing all that to my attention, Paul. I’d just been thinking about De Chirico, Bruegel, and surreal space in Renaissance art, I think prompted by a Bellini posted by Jahsonic where he noted that the Italians had their share of fantastic landscapes. It’s always been interesting to me how so much emphasis has been put on Renaissance space, whereas much of Renaissance art is entirely an invention of the mind.

    I should try to post those hunting scenes as well. Yes, those Tiepolo drawings are marvelous. I wanted to do a post comparing Tiepolo’s Capricci to Goya’s Caprichos. Also Tiepolo’s Scherzi, which were only published after his death, although they circulated in a small community. Goya’s Caprichos were unpopular, failing to selll and being withrdawn from circulation. The Disasters weren’t printed during his lifetime. The Sleep of Reason produces Monsters.

    Funny how the caprices (or “light fantasies”) of Tiepolo mutated into Goya’s visions. Being American, I was immersed in the Disyney Capricci…and the sleep of reason has produced monsters here.

    J.G. Ballard is my favorite “fantasy” writer lately. This is a partial description of Hello America, the opening line of which reads: “There’s gold, Wayne, gold dust everywhere! Wake up! The streets of America are paved with gold!”

    A century after America’s financial collapse and the climactic upheavals of the 1990s, Wayne stows away on SS Apollo, bound for the New World on a voyage of rediscovery. He and the crew encounter hazards at every turn and ghosts from the past as they travel West. In Las Vegas, roaming bands of Mexican teenagers welcome them to the citadel of late 20th century glitter. Their charismatic leader — a William Burroughs look-alike addressed reverently as President Charles Manson — invites Wayne into hs cybernetic stronghold. But suddenly the erratic president takes fright at Wayne’s alien presence and threatens to play deadly war games with an arsenal of leftover Titan warheads. Now it’s not just the Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe holograms that are at risk…

    There’s a Ballard quote along the lines of: “In the 20th Centuries America provided the world with its dreams; in the 21st century all it gives us is its nightmares.”

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