Dante’s works are thick with visionary and visual scenes. Readers are encouraged to see with Dante as he narrates his love for Beatrice in the Vita Nuova, and to look at and through the Commedia as visual artefact (‘Aguzza qui, lettor, ben li occhi al vero, / ché ‘l velo è ora ben tanto sottile, / certo che ‘l trapassar dentro è leggero.’, Purg. VIII, 19-21). Dante himself is commanded to look innumerable times throughout the poem. The visual textures of Dante’s texts have also provoked a long tradition of visual responses to his works. Building on seminal contributions in recent scholarship (Iannucci, 2004; Braida and Cale 2007; Lehner, 2017), this panel seeks interventions expounding the role played by the visual arts in the cross-cultural mediation and interpretation, appropriation and popularisation of Dante’s textuality and imagery from the early modern era to postmodernity. The intention is historicize the modes of visualisation of Dante’s poetry in both traditional and more experimental forms of representation ranging from painting, illustration and sculpture to film, graphic novels and videogames. In mapping the dynamics of this Dante’s productive responses in visual arts, the panel will discuss:
- The visuality of Dante’s works: from the lyrics to the Commedia, in terms of their material imagery, visual and visionary language, episodes of ekphrasis, synaesthetic and optical illusions and effects. Dante’s seeing, and the reader as observer.
- ·The construction of the visual canon: from Botticelli’s Disegni per la Divina Commedia (1480-1495) to Robert Rauschenberg Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno (1958-1960) and beyond.
- The dialectic of centrality/marginality at play within the canon: i.e., the macroscopic predilection for the representation of the Commedia over the Vita Nuova and other minor works; as well as the microscopic selection of episodes and passages from the poem itself.
- The multiple uses of illustration as commentary: from early modern manuscripts to nineteenth-century illustrated editions for young and adult readers.
- The postmodern reactivation of Dante’s medieval vision in the digital world: cinematic and graphic reinventions of the Commedia.
Please submit abstracts of not more that 200 words, a brief biographical note, and requests for audio-visual equipment to David Bowe (University of Oxford) firstname.lastname@example.org and Federica Coluzzi (University of Manchester) email@example.com by 20 December 2017.