The exhibition ‘Dante il poeta eterno’ or ‘Dante. The Eternal Poet’ by Italian artist Felice Limosani is currently on display at the Pazzi Chapel of the Santa Croce basilica in Florence. Promoted by the Cult Buildings Fund of the Ministry of the Interior, the Municipality of Florence and the Opera di Santa Croce, the exhibition was conceived by Limosani and was inaugurated on the 700th death anniversary of Dante, on 13 September 2021. It will remain on display until 13 February 2022.
With the intention of visually narrating the Divine Comedy, the installation combines the universal message of the archaic poem with the digital offerings of modern technology against the backdrop of Brunelleschi’s Renaissance chapel. For the exhibit, the Italian artist has utilised French engraver Gustave Dorè’s illustrations of the epic poem. Instead of solely digitizing Dorè’s illustrations, Limosani reworked on the vertical illustrations to produce expanded immersive installations that dominate the chapel, following each other in continuum and perfectly sitting in harmony with the chapel.
A total of 135 of Dorè’s illustrated tables were digitized and repurposed for this exhibition: 75 from Hell, 42 from Purgatory and 18 from Paradise. Within the chapel, the walls, ceilings and the domes all are illuminated with the video and image projections of the illustrations, transforming the serene interiors and offering a comprehensive and interesting view of the Divine Comedy. The visual and aural representation of the inexhaustible vitality of the epic poem and Dante’s previous association with the chapel gently persuade the visitors to reminisce about the 13th century poet and philosopher.
Apart from curating and designing the visual offerings of the exhibition, Limosani has also filled it with choral music that was specifically written after extensive research of medieval religious scores. The sound and lights that fill its spaces, imbue the space with a spiritual and emotional energy, thus elevating it into an interactive exhibition.
Felice Limosani is an acclaimed French artist and an innovator in Digital Humanities. His body of work comprises the integration of humanities with digital culture and contemporary arts to design spaces, installations and experiences that encourage people to view existing entities from a refocused and redefined point of view.
The exhibition ‘Dante il poeta eterno’ will remain on display from 13 September 2021 to 13 February 2022 at the Pazzi Chapel of the Santa Croce basilica in Florence.