Open until 9 Jan 2022

Gallery 8

Admission is FREE, but a free Museum ticket is required

On the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante (1265–1321), this exhibition will explore the great poet and philosopher's influence on art and culture over the centuries.

Curated by Prof Gervase Rosser, the exhibition will also coincide with a free display at the Bodleian Library, The Divine Comedy from Manuscript to Manga, open until 14 November 2021.

Personality cults; style icons; reality TV: these staples of our modern world have an origin. They can all be traced to the Divine Comedy, an epic poem completed around 1320 by Dante Alighieri. In it, Dante exposed the hollowness and hypocrisy of worldly reputation and power, and for the first time the lives of ordinary people were dramatised on a world stage, with full exposure of their characters. And by writing a bestseller, Dante in turn became a celebrity. Dante himself acquired the status of an icon. 


Banner Image: Detail from Dante and Beatrice in the Earthly Paradise, Monika Beisner, 2002 © the artist

A man wearing a black gown and head covering infront of a window looking to the left

Detail of the face of the poet Dante in an 1853 painting by Rossetti