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From its creation, Dante Alighieri’s poetry has inspired the world’s greatest writers, artists, and thinkers. His groundbreaking “Divine Comedy,” completed in 1320, became muse to giants of the Italian Renaissance—among them Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Stradano, and Federico Zuccari—as well as to scholars seeking to illuminate the complex poem through imagery.

Join Rhoda Eitel-Porter, an expert on 16th-century Italian drawings and prints, as she explores the work of literary scholar Alessandro Vellutello, whose drawings likely became the basis for the highly influential series of woodcuts illustrating the 1544 edition of “Divine Comedy.” Dr. Eitel-Porter will guide you through Vellutello’s unique vision of Dante’s work—from its unusual emphasis on barren, volcanic terrain to the intricate illustrations of each circle of hell and Purgatory—and examine how the perspective of the comparatively amateur Vellutello varied from those of his more-famous Renaissance contemporaries.

This is the first talk in Cornell’s “Visions of Dante” symposium held in conjunction with the Johnson Museum of Art’s “Visions of Dante” exhibition, timed to mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death. The Vellutello drawings and woodcuts are part of the exhibit, on loan from the Morgan Library & Museum’s collection.

“Visions of Dante: A Central NY Humanities Corridor Symposium” was held on Saturday, October 16, 2021, at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, in conjunction with their exhibition “Visions of Dante.” The symposium was cosponsored by the Central New York Humanities Corridor, a unique regional collaboration between Syracuse University, Cornell University, the University of Rochester, the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium, and other liberal arts schools and colleges in the central New York region.

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