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La Divina Commedia. Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. Inferno 1.

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la divina commedia

La Divina Commedia

Michelangelo’s Last Judgment

inferno 1
Inferno 1
  • Canto 1Midway in life’s journey – reprises life as a pilgrimage – midway in his life – i.e. the year 1300 – Jubilee Year! Instant connection to pilgrimage- Dante is 35 years old – he finds himself – on the wrong side of a mountain- in a dark wood- he looks back like someone who has just escaped a shipwreck! - then who appears but Virgil! – Virgil who told Aeneas’s story will guide Dante through this journey!
inferno 2
Inferno 2
  • -Dante tells us that Aeneas is the chosen father of Rome
  • - then he tells us of Paul’s journey
  • - but Dante protests – I am not Aeneas - I am not Paul – instantly signaling that his journey will also be like theirsremember that chronologically – Dante has not yet journeyed to Rome from when he will start his pilgrimage to the City of God – he must first go to the earthly city in his temporal life and then from there (per Augustine) can he undertake the journey to City of God) reminding us of their journeys
  • this vision then is a vision of that journey and we shall see to what it is connected when Dante asks – why me…
  • The answer … A Lady in Heaven .. una donna wants this – so the donna turned to Lucia and Lucia in turn asked Beatrice to go save Dante and Beatrice descended into Limbo to get Virgil out and to save Dante from the three beasts of temptation and send him on his journey.
inferno 3
Inferno 3
  • First stop – the Gates of Hell – people waiting for the boat to go to their respective punishments .. those who cannot get aboard …“the shadow of that soul, who in his cowardice, made the Great Denial …”- 2 interpretations – Pilate or Celestine V – who abdicated- does the interpretation matter? Pilate’s inaction led to the crucifixion; Celestino’s inaction led to abuse of the papacy – they can indeed be figura of each other – Dante needn’t name the Great denial – for the meaning is the same.
inferno 4
Inferno 4
  • - Limbo – the poets .. Dante’s characterisation of Virgil as a virtuous poet who regrets having died before the birth of Christ (Canto 1, 69 – I was born late …)and the “good” Brutus who overthrew Tarquin .. later we’ll see what he thinks of the other Brutus!”
inferno 5
Inferno 5
  • -This is where we see what he thinks of Dido .. she is in the circle of the lustful .. and we also start to understand what he was getting at in the Vita Nuova with “amore … a morte:This is one of the steps where we will start to see that the pilgrimage is one to divine love as opposed to earthly AMOR
inferno 18
Inferno 18
  • Mention of the Jubilee, called by Boniface in return for indulgences, and the bridge to Castel Sant’Angelo
inferno 19
Inferno 19
  • Dante talks to one of the sinners and the sinner thinks it’s Boniface!–the sinner is Pope Nicholas III- Rome referred to as that “sweet Lady” “la bella donna” l. 57 the rhetorical question - how much cash did Jesus ask from Peter? -Dante berates Constantine’s donation: it’s great you were converted but what a fee! Here is where Dante places Clement (l. 82)
inferno 27
Inferno 27
  • Rome of the New PhariseesGuido da Montefeltro – counsellor to Boniface VIII - recounts how Boniface relied on the power of Peter to pardon Montefeltro in advance for a sin that Boniface was asking him to commit – i.e. tricking the Colonna out of their castle so that the Pope could destroy it - this is the Rome of the New Pharisees – and it figures prominently throughout Hell
inferno 31
Inferno 31
  • In describing one of the Giants he says he was a high as the giant pine cone in St. Peter’s 31:59 – In Dante’s time this stood outside the Basilica (it’s now inside the Vatican walls)
inferno 34
Inferno 34
  • The worst sin of all (Inf.18:32) : Betrayal of the Empire: Dante places Brutus and Cassius – side by side with Judas Iscariot betrayal of the Empire = betrayal of Christ
purgatorio
Purgatorio
  • Reversal of Infernal journey
  • Starts with an image taken from pilgrimage (pilgrimage to Jerusalem (rememeber the figural connection to Rome)
purgatorio 6
Purgatorio 6
  • - bemoans an Italy as a ship unpiloted –
  • 78: “Ahi serva Italia, di dolore ostello, nave sanza nocchiere in gran tempesta, non donna di province, ma bordello!
  • beseeches the Emperor to come into Italy and fix things esp. the Church!
  • 105 – come see how the Garden of the Empire goes to seed - come see your stricken Rome, that weeps alone – a widow
purgatorio 16
Purgatorio 16
  • 94 – Men need a Monarch over them who sees at least the towers of the True City .. yet no one is leading; not the shepherd – he is a sheep himself (i.e. the pope) Rome used to shine when her rod made the world good – refers to two suns … i.e. sees Empire and Papacy as equal lights .. n.b. this is before Monarchia
purgatorio 22
Purgatorio 22
  • 145: Rome’s noble blood
purgatorio 29
Purgatorio 29
  • Dante hears cries of Hosanna – typically signaling the arrival of Christ in Jerusalem and then Beatrice arrives
purgatorio 32
Purgatorio 32
  • Rome as Babylon but Beatrice says she will take Dante to Heaven . i.e. to that Rome where Christ is a Roman (l. 102)
paradiso 6
Paradiso 6
  • Justinian:
  • 1. "After Constantine turned back the eagle against the course of heaven which it followed behind the man of old who wed Lavinia,
  • (The eagle, symbol of Roman power, had moved westward first with Aeneas, Lavinia’s husband; then Constantine returned it east when he founded Constantinople in 330. )
  • 57. Then as that age dawned in which Heaven planned the whole world to its harmony, Caesar came, and by the will of Rome, took it in hand.”
  • ( i.e. Julius Caesar preparing the way for the peace that will be brought about under Caesar Augustus)
paradiso 9
Paradiso 9
  • 125 – “the Holy land (which seems to have slipped from the Pope’s memory”139 – “But the Vatican and the other chosen parts of Holy Rome that have been, from the first, them cemetery of those faithful hearts, that followed Peter and were his soldiery, shall soon be free of this adultery.” per Folquet of Marseilles
paradiso 15
Paradiso 15
  • 126 Cacciaguida (and ancestor of Dante’s) “I served with Conrad in the Holy Land against the evil creed whose followers take from you – because your shepherd sins – what is yours by right”
paradiso 24
Paradiso 24
  • 63 Dante to St. Peter: “as it was set down by the pen of your dear brother, who, with you, set Rome on the road that leads to glory’s crown …” (reference to the anonymous letter to the Hebrews, which Dante attributes to St. Paul )
paradiso 27
Paradiso 27
  • l. 25 - St. Peter – that usurper has made a sewer of my sepulcher, a flow of blood and stink …”
  • l. 62 – “Yet the high Providence that stood with Rome and Scipio for the glory of the world will once again, and soon be seen to come.”
paradiso 31
Paradiso 31
  • 34 “If the Barbarians … looking at Rome, were stupefied to see her works in those days when the Lateran outshone all else built by humanity, , what did I feel on reaching such a goal …” (i.e. heaven)Dante makes a direct comparison to the pagans arriving in Rome and his arriving in Heaven
  • 104 – “As a stranger from afar .. comes to see our Veronica, and awed by its ancient fame, can never look his fill, but says to himself as long as it is displayed: “My Lord, Jesus Christ, true God, and is this then the likeness of thy living flesh portrayed?” – just so did I gaze on the living love of him who in this world, through contemplation, tasted the peace which ever dwells above” (i.e. St. Bernard of Clairvaux – who was afforded a glimpse of heaven) now Dante will turn his eyes for his vision of God
final image of rome
Final Image of Rome
  • Christian Rome versus Pagan Rome
  • Veronica and the Madonna versus La Lupa
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Thus Dante’s three part journey shows us:
  • Hell - Rome abandoned – Rome as BabylonPurgatory – Rome remedied - a strong Monarchy, Eagle over the harlot
  • Paradise – Rome fulfilled – Rome where Christ is a Roman heaven
  • His pilgrimage therefore goes from the Rome of this world to the Rome of Heaven.
  • His pilgrimage has been spurred by Beatrice – who was seeing in him a misdirection of his love – towards courtly love – but turning away from courtly love to higher love has allowed him the vision to see that politics cannot be only about temporal things but that politics and empire must be about fulfilling their spiritual significance
  • Parallel structure:love: temporal love ------> spiritual lovepolitics: temporal empire -------> spiritual empire