William Blake Illustrations of the Divine Comedy
On 18 November the Dante Alighieri Society of Melbourne hosted an online exhibition by the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) of its collection of William Blake (1757-1827) water colours illustrating the Divine Comedy (the largest such collection the world).
William Blake, poet, print designer and artist, and a leading figure of the Romantic movement, represent a time when the English speaking world ‘rediscovered’ Dante, when the first full translations of the Divine Comedy into English appeared, and when Dante’s work powerfully re-entered the wider literary canon of the English speaking world.
The illustrations have been held by the NGV since 1918 and thus also represent Australia’s long interest and engagement with Dante and his poetry.
The event is opened by Vice President Mary Marcuccio, addressed by NGV Senior Curator Cathy Leahy and closed by Dr Dominic Barbaro AM, President, Dante Alighieri Society Melbourne. The exhibition is followed by a reading of the Commedia, in its original language, by Dr Paolo Baracchi, Secretary, Dante Alighieri Society, Melbourne.