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Dante Illustrated. Inferno

  • Dante Illustrated. Inferno

    La Divina Commedia illustrata da Federico Zuccari

    Dante Illustrated. Inferno
  • 1/31


    Progetto a cura di Donatella Fratini

    Testi di Donatella Fratini

    Coordinamento: Patrizia Naldini

    Editing web: Patrizia Naldini, Simone Rovida, Chiara Ulivi

    Campagna fotografica realizzata da Roberto Palermo


    English version is upcoming

  • 2/31
    Dante's portrait

    Copia da Federico Zuccari

    Ritratto di Dante Aligheri

    1738/ 1753

    GDSU inv. 14287 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "If e'er it happen that the Poem Sacred,
    To which both heaven and earth have set their hand,
    So that it many a year hath made me lean, 

    O'ercome the cruelty that bars me out
    From the fair sheepfold, where a lamb I slumbered,
    An enemy to the wolves that war upon it,

    With other voice forthwith, with other fleece
    Poet will I return, and at my font
    Baptismal will I take the laurel crown;

    Because into the Faith that maketh known
    All souls to God there entered I,
    and then Peter for her sake thus my brow encircled."

  • 3/31
    Inferno. The drawings

    English version is upcoming.

  • 4/31
    "The forest dark"

    Inferno, Canto I

    GDSU 3474 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Midway upon the journey of our life
    I found myself within a forest dark,
    For the straightforward pathway had been lost

    Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say
    What was this forest savage, rough, and stern,
    Which in the very thought renews the fear."


  • 5/31
    The Gate of Hell. The Indifferent

    Inferno, Canto III

    GDSU inv. 3475 F

    Through me the way is to the city dolent;
    Through me the way is to eternal dole;
    Through me the way among the people lost

    Justice incited my sublime Creator;
    Created me divine Omnipotence,
    The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.

    Before me there were no created things,
    Only eterne, and I eternal last.
    All hope abandon, ye who enter in!

    These miscreants, who never were alive;
    who live withouten infamy or praise.

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    Charon. The Earthquake and the Swoon

    Inferno, Canto III

    GDSU inv. 3476 F


    English version is upcoming

    "Charon the demon, with the eyes of glede,
    Beckoning to them, collects them all together,
    Beats with his oar whoever lags behind."

  • 7/31
    The first circle. The descent to Limbo

    Inferno, Canto IV, vv. 24-27

    GDSU inv. 3477 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "The foremost circle that surrounds the abyss

    There, as it seemed to me from listening,
    Were lamentations none, but only sighs,
    That tremble made the everlasting air.

    And this arose from sorrow without torment,
    Which the crowds had, that many were and great,
    Of infants and of women and of men."

    The foremost circle that surrounds the abyss
    There, as it seemed to me from listening,
    Were lamentations none, but only sighs,
    That tremble made the everlasting air.


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    First circle. The Noble Castle of Philosophy

    Inferno, Canto IV

    GDSU inv. 3478 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "We came unto a noble castle's foot.
    Seven times encompassed with lofty walls,
    Defended round by a fair rivulet;
    This we passed over even as firm ground;
    Through portals seven I entered with these Sages"


    The City of the Heroes. Rivulet.
    We came unto a noble castle's foot.
    Seven times encompassed with lofty walls,
    Defended round by a fair rivulet ;
    This we passed over even as firm ground ;
    Through portals seven I entered with these Sages
    We came into a meadow of fresh verdure

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    First circle. Elysian Fields

    Inferno, Canto IV

    GDSU inv. 3479 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "We came into a meadow of fresh verdure.

    People were there with solemn eyes and slow,
    Of great authority in their countenance;
    They spake but seldom, and with gentle voices.

    Thus we withdrew ourselves upon one side
    Into an opening luminous and lofty,
    So that they all of them were visible."


    There opposite, upon the green enamel.
    Were pointed out to me the mighty spirits.
    Whom to have seen I feel myself exalted.
    I saw Electra with companions many,
    'Mongst whom I knew both Hector and Aeneas,
    Caesar in armour with gerfalcon eyes;
    I saw Camilla and Penthesilea
    On the other side, and saw the King Latinus,
    Who with Lavinia his daughter sat;
    I saw that Brutus who drove Tarquin forth,
    Lucretia, Julia, Marcia, and Cornelia,
    And saw alone, apart, the Saladin.
    When I had lifted up my brows a little,
    The Master I beheld of those who know,
    Sit with his philosophic family.
    All gaze upon him, and all do him honour.
    There I beheld both Socrates and Plato,
    Who nearer him before the others stand;
    Democritus, who puts the world on chance,
    Diogenes, Anaxagoras, and Thales,
    Zeno, Empedocles, and Heraclitus;
    Of qualities I saw the good collector,
    Hight Dioscorides; and Orpheus saw I,
    Tully and Livy, and moral Seneca.


  • 10/31
    Second circle. The Wanton. Minos. Paolo and Francesca

    Inferno, Canto V

    GDSU inv. 3480 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "There standeth Minos horribly, and snarls;
    Examines the transgressions at the entrance;
    Judges, and sends according as he girds him,

    I say, that when the spirit evil-born
    Cometh before him, wholly it confesses;
    And this discriminator of transgressions

    Seeth what place in Hell is meet for it;
    Girds himself with his tail as many times
    As grades he wishes it should be thrust down."

    The lustful tormented
    by the cruelest wind
    that hurtles them through
    a black and gloomy

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    Third circle. The Gluttonous. Cerberus

    Inferno, Canti V-VI

    GDSU, inv. 3481 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Cerberus, monster cruel and uncouth,
    With his three gullets like a dog is barking
    Over the people that are there submerged.

    Red eyes he has, and unctuous beard and black.
    And belly large, and armed with claws his hands ;
    He rends the spirits, flays, and quarters them"

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    Fourth circle. The Avaricious and the Prodigal

    Inferno, Canto VII

    GDSU inv. 3482 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Pape Satan, Pape Satan, Aleppe!"
    Thus Plutus with his clucking voice began;
    And that benignant Sage, who all things knew.

    Said, to encourage me : "Let not thy fear
    Harm thee; for any power that he may have
    Shall not prevent thy going down this crag."

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    Fifth circle. Styx. The Irascible and the Sullen

    Inferno, Canto VII

    GDSU inv. 3483 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "And I, who stood intent upon beholding.
    Saw people mud-besprent in that lagoon, hc
    All of them naked and with angry look.

    They smote each other not alone with hands,
    But with the head and with the breast and feet.
    Tearing each other piecemeal with their teeth." 

  • 14/31
    Fifth circle. Phlegyas and Filippo Argenti

    Inferno, Canto VIII

    GDSU inv. 3484 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Phlegyas, Phlegyas, thou criest out in vain
    For this once," said my Lord;" thou shalt not have us 
    Longer than in the passing of the slough." 

  • 15/31
    The City of Dis

     Inferno, Canto IX

    GDSU inv. 3485 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Said unto me: "Behold the fierce Erinnys.
    This is Megaera, on the left-hand side;
    She who is weeping on the right, Alecto;
    Tisiphone is between;" and then was silent.

    Each one her breast was rending with her nails;
    They beat them with their palms, and cried so loud, so
    That I for dread pressed close unto the Poet.

    "Medusa come, so we to stone will change him!"
    All shouted looking down; "in evil hour
    Avenged we not on Theseus his assault!" 

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    The City of Dis and the Angel

    Inferno, Canto IX

    GDSU inv. 3486 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Eve as the frogs before the hostile serpent
    Across the water scatter all abroad.
    Until each one is huddled in the earth.

    More than a thousand ruined souls I saw,
    Thus fleeing from before one who on foot
    Was passing o'er the Styx with soles unwet.

    From off his face he fanned that unctuous air,
    Waving his left hand oft in front of him,
    And only with that anguish seemed he weary.

    Well I perceived one sent from Heaven was he,
    And to the Master turned ; and he made sign
    That I should quiet stand, and bow before him.

    Ah! how disdamful he appeared to me!
    He reached the gate, and with a little rod
    He opened it, for there was no resistance."

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    Sixth circle. Heresiarchs. Farinata degli Uberti and Cavalcante de’ Cavalcanti

    Inferno, Canto X

    GDSU inv. 3487 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "O Tuscan, thou who through the city of fire
    Goest alive, thus speaking modestly,
    Be pleased to stay thy footsteps in this place.

    Thy mode of speaking makes thee manifest
    A native of that noble fatherland.
    To which perhaps I too molestful was.

    "Upon a sudden issued forth this sound
    From out one of the tombs; wherefore I pressed,
    Fearing, a little nearer to my Leader.

    And unto me he said: "Turn thee; what dost thou?
    Behold there Farinata who has risen;
    From the waist upwards wholly shalt thou see him"

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    Seventh circle. The Violent against their Neighbours. The Centaurs

    Inferno, Canti XI-XII

    GDSU inv. 3488 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "I saw an ample moat bent like a bow,
    As one which all the plain encompasses.
    Conformable to what my Guide had said.

    And between this and the embankment's foot ss
    Centaurs in file were running, armed with arrows,
    As in the world they used the chase to follow.

    Beholding us descend, each one stood still,
    And from the squadron three detached themselves,
    With bows and arrows in advance selected;

    And from afar one cried : "Unto what torment
    Come ye, who down the hillside are descending?
    Tell us from there; if not, I draw the bow." 

  • 19/31
    Seventh circle. Suicides

    Inferno, Canto XIII

    GDSU, inv. 3489 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Then stretched I forth my hand a little forward,
    And plucked a branchlet off from a great thorn;
    And the tmnk cried, "Why dost thou mangle me?

    After it had become embrowned with blood.
    It recommenced its cry: "Why dost thou rend me?
    Hast thou no spirit of pity whatsoever?

    Men once we were, and now are changed to trees;
    Indeed, thy hand should be more pitiful,
    Even if the souls of serpents we had been

    As out of a green brand, that is on fire
    At one of the ends, and from the other drips
    And hisses with the wind that is escaping;

    So from that splinter issued forth together
    Both words and blood; whereat I let the tip
    Fall, and stood like a man who is afraid."

  • 20/31
    Seventh circle. Violent against God and Violent against Nature. Brunetto Latini

    Inferno, Canti XIV-XV

    GDSU inv. 3490 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Clearly to manifest these novel things,
    I say that we arrived upon a plain,
    Which from its bed rejecteth every plant;

    The dolorous forest is a garland to it
    All round about, as the sad moat to that;
    There close upon the edge we stayed our feet

    The soil was of an arid and thick sand,
    Not of another fashion made than that
    Which by the feet of Cato once was pressed.

    Vengeance of God, O how much oughtest thou
    By each one to be dreaded, who doth read
    That which was manifest unto mine eyes!"

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    Seventh circle. Violent against Nature and Violent against Art

    Inferno, Canti XV-XVII

    GDSU inv. 3491 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "Now was I where was heard the reverberation
    Of water falling into the next round,
    Like to that humming which the beehives make.

    When shadows three together started forth,
    Running, from out a company that passed
    Beneath the rain of the sharp martyrdom.

    Towards us came they, and each one cried out:
    Stop, thou; for by thy garb to us thou seemest
    To be some one of our depraved city.

    Ah me ! what wounds I saw upon their limbs,
    Recent and ancient by the flames burnt in!
    It pains me still but to remember it."

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    Eighth circle, Malebolge. First bolgia: Seducers and Panders

    Inferno, Canto XVIII

    GDSU inv. 3492 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "There is a place in Hell called Malebolge,
    Wholly of stone and of an iron colour,
    As is the circle that around it turns.

    Right in the middle of the field malign
    There yawns a well exceeding wide and deep,
    Of which its place the structure will recount".

  • 23/31
    Eighth circle, second Bolgia: the Flatterers. Third Bolgia: the Simoniacs. Nicholas III

    Inferno, Canti XVIII-XIX

    GDSU inv. 3493 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "We were already where the narrow path
    Crosses athwart the second dike, and forms
    Of that a buttress for another arch.

    Thence we heard people, who are making moan
    In the next Bolgia, snorting with their muzzles,
    And with their palms beating upon themselves.

    The margins were incrusted with a mould
    By exhalation from below, that sticks there,
    And with the eyes and nostrils wages war."

  • 24/31
    Eighth circle, fourth Bolgia: Soothsayers. Fifth Bolgia: Peculators

    Inferno, Canti XX-XXI

    GDSU inv. 3494 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "And I beheld behind us a black devil.
    Running along upon the crag, approach.

    Ah, how ferocious was he in his aspect!
    And how he seemed to me in action ruthless.
    With open wings and light upon his feet!

    His shoulders, which sharp-pointed were and high,
    A sinner did encumber with both haunches,
    And he held clutched the sinews of the feet."

  • 25/31
    Eighth circle, fifth Bolgia: Peculators. The savage company

    Inferno, Canti XXI-XXIII

    GDSU inv. 3495 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "We went upon our way with the ten demons:
    Ah, savage company! but in the church
    With saints, and in the tavern with the gluttons!"

    Barterers whose punishment is to stay in boiling pitch


  • 26/31
    Eighth circle, sixth Bolgia: Hypocrites. Caiaphas

    Inferno, Canti XXIII-XXIV

    GDSU inv. 3496 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "A painted people there below we found.
    Who went about with footsteps very slow.
    Weeping and in their semblance tired and vanquished.

    They had on mantles with the hoods low down
    Before their eyes, and fashioned of the cut
    That in Cologne they for the monks are made."

    Title block by Zuccari: Hypocrites. Their punishment is / to go about with extremely heavy mantles / and leaden hoods on 

  • 27/31
    Eighth circle, seventh Bolgia: Thieves. Vanni Fucci

    Inferno, Canti XXIV-XXVI

    GDSU inv. 3497 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "The Guide thereafter asked him who he was;
    Whence he replied: "I rained from Tuscany
    A short time since into this cruel gorge.

    A bestial life, and not a human, pleased me.
    Even as the mule I was ; I'm Vanni Fucci,
    Beast, and Pistoia was my worthy den"." 

  • 28/31
    Eighth circle, eighth Bolgia: Evil Counsellors. Ulysses and Diomed. Ninth Bolgia: Nona bolgia: Schismatics

    Inferno, Canti XXVI-XXVIII

    GDSU inv. 3498 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "As many as the hind (who on the hill
    Rests at the time when he who lights the world
    His countenance keeps least concealed from us,

    While as the fly gives place unto the gnat)
    Seeth the glow-worms down along the valley.
    Perchance there where he ploughs and makes his vintage;

    With flames as manifold resplendent all
    Was the eighth Bolgia, as I grew aware
    As soon as I was where the depth appeared."


  • 29/31
    Eighth circle, tenth Bolgia: Alchemists, Falsifiers and Forgers

    Inferno, Canti XXIX-XXXI

    GDSU inv. 3499 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "When we were now right over the last cloister
    Of Malebolge, so that its lay-brothers
    Could manifest themselves unto our sight,

    Divers lamentings pierced me through and through.
    Which with compassion had their arrows barbed,
    Whereat mine ears I covered with my hands.

    What pain would be, if from the hospitals
    Of Valdichiana, 'twixt July and September,
    And of Maremma and Sardinia

    All the diseases in one moat were gathered,
    Such was it here, and such a stench came from it
    As from putrescent limbs is wont to issue."

  • 30/31
    Ninth circle: The Giants

    Inferno, Canti XXXI-XXXII

    GDSU inv. 3500 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "As, when the fog is vanishing away,
    Little by little doth the sight refigure
    Whate'er the mist that crowds the air conceals.

    So, piercing through the dense and darksome air.
    More and more near approaching tow'rd the verge,
    My error fled, and fear came over me;

    Because as on its circular parapets
    Montereggione crowns itself with towers,
    E'en thus the margin which surrounds the well

    With one half of their bodies turreted
    The horrible giants, whom Jove menaces
    E'en now from out the heavens when he thunders."


  • 31/31
    Ninth circle. Lucifer

    Inferno, Canti XXXII-XXXIV

    GDSU inv. 3501 F


    English version is upcoming.

    "How frozen I became and powerless then,
    Ask it not. Reader, for I write it not,
    Because all language would be insufficient.

    I did not die, and I alive remained not;
    Think for thyself now, hast thou aught of wit,
    What I became, being of both deprived.

    The Emperor of the kingdom dolorous
    From his mid-breast forth issued from the ice;
    And better with a giant I compare

    Than do the giants with those arms of his;
    Consider now how great must be that whole,
    Which unto such a part conforms itself."

Dante Illustrated. Inferno

La Divina Commedia illustrata da Federico Zuccari


Translation of Dante's text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The texts in quotation marks are excerpts from Dante, which refer to the depicted subjects. The texts in italics are the translations of the title blocks Zuccari himself has often inserted in his drawings.


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