Dante’s Collection

Dante’s digital abstract paintings.

I titled this project The Back of Beyond. It is composed by two sections: the Simulacrum Series about the characters, and Inania Regna about the landscapes. The Back of Beyond has an orizontal cut for the landscapes, and at the same time a vertical cut for the descent. And as to ascend you must first descend, in these dark and cold dephts you can find conflicts, fear and caos of the human condition in search of a possible catharsis. Dante’s Hell from Divine Comedy was my main reference.

Simulacrum Series: Simulacrum is a Portraits Collection inspired from Dante’s Inferno. It’s the picture story of a journey-descent into a sort of inner sea, an unconscious world, where the only light is given by spectral glows and shapeless existences. Sĭmŭlācrum, from Latin “simulacra luce carentum“, ghosts of those who are deprived of daylight, Vergilius…

Dante, Simulacrum Series, Umbra.

Umbra, Simulacrum Series, from Latin Umbra-ae, spectrum-ghost-appearance. These are not positive images, there’s not a conciliatory and hypocrite moral. There is a disruption of human identity, an iconoclast dissolution of the form. Death is a constant because life is death. These are portraits from Hell…

Dante, Simulacrum Series, Aegritudo.

Aegritudo, Simulacrum Series. I love working on textures, dematerializing the appearance to reach the internal substance of the subject. In Dante’s Hell we can find the Gorgons, from the Greek gorgós, frightening. They were daughters of Forco and Keto. They were Steno, Euriale and Medusa, the only one mortal. Medusa is a monster feared by men-gods. Those who looked at them remained petrified. Gorgons lived in a cave in the garden of the Hesperides, near the kingdom of the dead. The Gorgons are all underground chthonic demons, connected to the forces of death. Aegritudo has certainly seen Medusa. The Gorgon Medusa petrifies those who watch her scary face, throwing people in the abyss of despair, thereby precluding the salvation. With Medusa every lifeblood is less. And Aegritudo has no face, and no longer even lymph, it’s only stone… Aegrĭtūdo, from Latin spiritual affliction-pain… I am particularly attached to Aegritudo, I could use the same words as August Strindberg said about his work The Dream: my favorite drama, “the child of my greatest pain“.

Dante, Simulacrum Series, Charon.

Charon, Simulacrum Series. Charon is the ferryman of Hades, of the dead souls across the river Acheron. The one that “come to lead you to the other shore, to the eternal shades in heat and frost“… Dante describes Charon (inspired by Virgil Aeneis) as “an old man, hoary with the hair of eld“, coming in a boat on the livid fen… Acheron is the river of pain, that divides the world of the living from the world of the dead, through which do not pass alive souls. To get on the boat you have to pay an obol, a coin that is generally placed in the mouth of a dead person before burial. This boat always leads to Hell, it would be a symbol of the indestructible human unhappiness. Death in itself is a journey of the soul, and how all trips has its own transport, is the extreme journey that involves plunging into the abyss, and that begins with the journey of the body, on the funeral car, to the place of burial.

Inania Regna Series: Inania Regna is a Landscape Collection inspired from Dante’s Inferno. Inania Regna are the landscapes of the realm of shadows, of the dead souls. From Publius Vergilius Maro (Aeneis), “Ibant obscuri sola sub nocte per umbram perque domos ditis vacuas et inania regna… They went darkling through the dusk beneath the solitary night, through the empty dwelling and bodiless realm of dis…”

Dante, Inania Regna Series, Alta Ripa.

Alta Ripa, Inania Regna Series. High bank is a sort of crime scene, which takes place off-screen. We are near the shores of Phlegethon, the river of boiling blood, where the violents are immersed. Crimes of humanity begin, and every era has its own tragedies, not to mention the world we live in… “L’enfer c’est les autres“. 1943, Sartre.

Dante, Inania Regna Series, Palus.

Palus, Inania Regna Series. This work is a sort of deep lake. I love the meaning of lake in symbology: is the eye of the earth by means of which the inhabitants of the underworld can see men, and the swamp is the eye that has cried too much. A place of ideal access for an imaginary journey to places of myth, back from the world of the living to the dead. These are the waters of the Stygian marsh. And as said Nietzsche in The Gay Science: “I wouldn’t build a house for myself… But if I had to, I would, like some romans, build it right into the sea-I certainly would like to share a few secrets with this beautiful monster“. Palūs, from Latin swamp…

Dante, Caligo.

Caligo: Caligo is a particular work, is the darkness of a world covered with livid shade. These are surely the atmospheres of Dante’s infernal landscapes, but already with a beginning of opening to greater vast horizons. This work doesn’t belong to Inania Regna Collection. It is a stand-alone work, a transition between Dante and the beginning of the abstract landscapes of Aethēr Collection. But that’s another story…