Commons:Valued image candidates/Gustave Doré - Dante's Inferno, Cantos I and II

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Gustave Doré - Dante's Inferno, Cantos I and II


Gustave Doré is usually considered one of the master engravers. He did about 75 illustrations for Dante's Inferno, and about a dozen or so each more for Purgatorio and Paradiso. However, I think we'll agree that 75 illustrations in a set might well break the system a bit, so if noone objects, I'll break Inferno up into, say, 10 or 11 smaller sets.

Gustave Doré is usually considered to be at his best when drawing the grotesque or bizarre. When we get to sinners frozen in ice, trapped in burning coffins, tormented by demons, and other grotesqueries, Doré will truly be in his element. However, I think we can agree that a complete set of his illustrations is more valuable than me selecting only the best.

The basic plot of this early section is that Dante, at thirty-five years old, has lost his way in the woods, where he is threatened by three animals, symbolic of man's baser nature. However, his dead girlfriend, Beatrice - who is in fact, a real person, and really died at a young age - has pleaded for him to have a chance to see the error of his ways, so, with the poet Virgil as his guide, he is sent into Hell, as a warning.

Frankly, it's all just an excuse to set up the main plot: Dante describing the tortures of sinners in Hell, including a suspicious number of people he doesn't like.

In short, it's the ultimate Mary Sue fantasy, but really, really well written.

Nominated by Adam Cuerden (talk) on 2008-11-18 12:36 (UTC)
Scope Nominated as the most valued set of images on Wikimedia Commons within the scope:
Gustave Dore's illustrations of Dante's Inferno, Prologue (Cantos I and II)
  • Pictogram voting delete.svg I've just discovered that the edition I used crops the image. I'll find a historic edition - they're reasonably common, and usually actually cared about what the hell they were doing with the great artists.