Sandro Botticelli: The Drawings for Dante's "Divine Comedy"

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9780900946851: Sandro Botticelli: The Drawings for Dante's

An exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Arts, opening March 2001, assembles the 91 extant drawings, executed some time during the 1480s, by Sandro Botticelli to illustrate Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy. This is the accompanying catalogue, including a commentary and seven essays.

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Review:

The Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli is probably best known for Birth of Venus and Primavera, two commissions for the young Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici. The same delicate, rhythmic line and fanciful imagination can be found in another project for this patron: an unfinished set of drawings from the 1480s that illustrate The Divine Comedy, Dante's chronicle of his vividly imagined travels through the Inferno and Purgatory to Paradise.

For those familiar with the jewel-like colors of Botticelli's paintings, it may come as a shock that many of the 92 drawings that survive are very faint preliminary sketches. (They were made with a metal point on sheep parchment, sometimes touched up with pen and ink. A few have been colored in.) But just as the poet Virgil serves as the 35-year-old epic hero's indispensable guide, the astute running commentary in this book helps modern readers perceive how Botticelli subtly evokes the hero's feelings. "Botticelli's Dante is guided above all by his eyes," writes Hein-Thomas Schulze Altcappenberg, chief curator of Berlin's Kupferstichkabinett. "[They] are literally opened in proportion to his enlightenment, until his vision ultimately dissolves in an image of pure beauty, liberated from constraints of time and space."

By showing multiple views of the characters in a single drawing, Botticelli portrays Dante's successive reactions to what he sees and Virgil's responses to his charge's state of mind. And by giving every group of doomed souls a distinctive gesture or expression, he follows the poet's lead in illuminating both the individual and the universal. Published to accompany the exhibition of the same title that has been shown in Berlin and Rome and continues at the Royal Academy of Arts in London through June 2001, this book represents a triumph of accessible scholarship, intelligent design, and deeply rewarding content. --Cathy Curtis

From Library Journal:

Between 1480 and 1495, Botticelli executed a series of almost 100 drawings on vellum sheets, each based on individual cantos of Dante's Divine Comedy. It is almost certain that these exquisite and enigmatic works now hanging in the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin and in the Vatican were done for an unfinished manuscript intended for the artist's great patron, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici. All of these drawings, which are being shown together for the first time, and a significant body of comparative material are gathered in this superbly illustrated and fully documented exhibition catalog. Each drawing is accompanied by a cogent summary of its canto along with an acute analysis of the drawing's formal construction, all by Kupferstichkabinett chief curator Altcappenberg. Emphasis is also given to the relationships among the drawings and to Botticelli's creative response to the cantos. There is, in addition, a helpful and informative coda of seven scholarly essays by German and Italian scholars and curators on themes surrounding the project. Art libraries should seriously consider the acquisition of this important volume. Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Schulze Altcappenberg, Hein-Th.
Editorial: Royal Academy of Arts (2000)
ISBN 10: 0900946857 ISBN 13: 9780900946851
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Murray Media
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Descripción Royal Academy of Arts, 2000. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Nº de ref. de la librería P110900946857

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Schulze Altcappenberg, Hein-Th.
Editorial: Royal Academy of Arts
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Descripción Royal Academy of Arts. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. 0900946857 New Condition. Nº de ref. de la librería NEW6.1443624

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