Dante's Divine Comedy
the time of its creation in the early fourteenth century Dante Alighieri's
Divine Comedy has been the most respected and well-known piece of
Italian literature. The Divine Comedy is so widely treasured
because of its originality in language, style, and setting.
The imagery that Dante provides for his readers lends itself well to illustration and scores of artists have produced works relating to and inspired by the Divine Comedy. One of the first to do so was Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510), perhaps better known for his Birth of Venus. The edition of the Divine Comedy reproduced below (UIUC X F.851 D23 Od 1481) contains three engravings by Baccio Baldini after drawings prepared by Botticelli. This edition was printed by Nicolaus Laurentii, Alemanus in 1481.
Illustrations aside, the Divine Comedy has spawned an immense number of commentaries and critical editions. Cristoforo Landino (1425-1498) was a Florentine professor of rhetoric and poetry and his commentary on the Divine Comedy is among the most famous. It is printed in this edition surrounding Dante's text.
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