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Going through Hell: The Divine Dante

Past Exhibition

April 9 – July 16, 2023
West Building, Main Floor, Gallery 10–11

Florentine poet, writer and philosopher Dante Alighieri’s (1265-1321) Divine Comedy called Commedia in Italian, was written in the Florentine vernacular that formed the basis for the modern Italian language. It describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Paradise (Paradiso), guided first by the ancient Roman poet Virgil, and then his beloved Beatrice. In the more than 700 years since it was written, the Divine Comedy has remained one of the most influential works of Western literature.

Going through Hell: The Divine Dante explores the influence of this seminal manuscript in some 20 works all from the National Gallery’s collection. Beginning with the 16th century painted Allegorical Portrait of Dante these range from rare early printed editions of the Divine Comedy to sculptures by Auguste Rodin created initially for his monumental project The Gates of Hell, to works on paper from the 15th to 20th century, from William Blake to Robert Rauschenberg.

Explore Selected Works

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Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington

The exhibition is curated by Gretchen Hirschauer, curator of Italian and Spanish paintings, National Gallery of Art.

Admission is always free and passes are not required

Banner detail: Florentine 16th Century, Allegorical Portrait of Dante, late 16th century, oil on panel, overall: 126.9 x 120 cm (49 15/16 x 47 1/4 in.), framed: 165.7 x 158.8 x 8.3 cm (65 1/4 x 62 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.), National Gallery of Art, Washington, Samuel H. Kress Collection