Saturday, November 02, 2013

Henry James on the "extravagant" figure of Dante as depicted at Santa Croce

"The place is the great Florentine Valhalla, the final home or memorial harbour of the native illustrious dead, but that consideration of it would take me far. It must be confessed moreover that, between his coarsely-imagined statue out in front and his horrible monument in one of the aisles, the author of The Divine Comedy, for instance, is just hereabouts rather an extravagant figure". - Henry James, Italian Hours (1909)

I must confess that James is spot on in his assessment of the sculptural renditions of Dante that have become the model for how we picture him. I can't imagine that he's always that stern or unhappy looking as depicted at Santa Croce!

Detail of Dante's Tomb, Santa Croce

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