Dante and the Arts: Textual and Intertextual Perspectives
Dante's Divine Comedy has always been a source of inspiration for all sorts of artistic expression in the visual arts, music, theater, cinema, and popular culture. In the context of this multifarious and ongoing production, the tradition of the poem's illustrations, starting with the fourteenth century illuminated manuscripts and fifteenth century early printed texts, and including works from the most diverse historical and geographic backgrounds, spans over seven centuries and constitutes a vast field of its own. While Dante's visual imagination-as T. S. Elliot used to define it-has played a role in sustaining this tradition, the poet's "meta-visual" discourse within the text and his awareness of the issues involved in artistic representation, has become in the last decades a major object of critical inquiry.
This conference addresses musical interpretations, illustrations, and art works inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy, along with theoretical and philosophical problems raised within the text. Placing this canonical text in an interdisciplinary, international, and intercultural context, the conference will explore the potential of diverse modes of representation to be works of art in their own right and to produce, at the same time, original insight on the text itself. It will also show how the historical and cultural climate affect interpretation and, conversely, how a cultural product, while providing a reading of a medieval text in a different medium, opens up a window on the epoch in which it was produced: in our case Sixteenth Century Medicean Florence, Nineteenth Century Europe, and contemporary Peru.