Uffizi Gallery marks 700th anniversary of Dante's death with a virtual exhibition

·2-min read
'La Porta dell' Inferno' is one of the 88 illustrations by Federico Zuccari featured in this virtual exhibition.

Some dates merit commemoration, not least the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence is paying homage to the famous poet -- known as the father of the Italian language -- with a vast artistic program. This includes a virtual exhibition themed around his most famous work, "The Divine Comedy."

The "A riveder le stelle" (to see the stars again) online exhibition is based on the three major sections of "The Divine Comedy" -- "Inferno," "Purgatorio" and "Paradiso." This epic, allegorical poem, which dates from the early 14th century, traces a journey through the circles of hell and the mountain of purgatory to the spheres of heaven. At the end of the 16th century, the Italian painter Federico Zuccari created almost 90 illustrations of "The Divine Comedy," which art fans can now see on the Uffizi Gallery website.

Although the illustrations have been part of the Florence museum's collection since 1738, they have rarely been exhibited due to their fragility. They went on public display for the first time in Florence in 1865 to mark the 600th anniversary of Dante's birth. They were not publicly exhibited again until 1993. For this online exhibition, the illustrations have been digitized in high definition and organized like a journey -- in stages -- allowing virtual visitors to admire them for the first time in their entirety and in detail.

"The Uffizi Gallery is really proud to open the anniversary of the great poet's death by making this extraordinary collection of graphic art available to all," explains the museum's director, Eike Schmidt, in a statement.

This online show precedes "Dante. The vision of art," an ambitious retrospective organized by the Uffizi Gallery with the Cassa dei Risparmi di Forlì Foundation. It is scheduled to run March 12 to July 14 in the San Domenico museums, Fiesole, covid-19 restrictions permitting. This exhibition will include masterpieces by Michelangelo, Andrea del Castagno, Pontormo and Federico Zuccari.