Dante and Beatrice – more and more inspiration as I research my novel

I’m in bliss. How fabulous it is to immerse myself in a world of love and beauty as I continue to research my novel Mona Lisa’s Secret. The world of the Renaissance is a treasure chest of worldly pleasure and those who lived before and during those times continue to inspire a realm of artists.

My heart did a little skip and I felt quite excited when I was researching Dante’s Divine Comedy and came across a note re how Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of The Kiss had been inspired by Paolo and Francesca from Dante’s Inferno. I took this photo while in France in 2007 and reproduced it on a canvas which I hung above my own bed in the hope I would meet my own soul mate. I didn’t know at the time that these two who look so in love (not lust) were committing adultery. Happily I did find my soul mate and he was separated from his wife in the throes of divorce. So no hell for me!   Now that’s powerful creativity!

Interesting links:

Meet Dante’s muse Beatrice Portinari.  Unlike the pagan Roman poet Virgil  who guides him through Hell and Purgatory, this woman opened the doors to heaven  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Portinari

Learn more about Dante’s The Divine Comedy

Enjoy this video about Dante – the love struck 9 year old citing his beloved Beatrice for the first time

Baptistry mosaic ceiling Lucifer from whose ears spring terrifying animals

Christ the judge – at his feet the resurrection of the dead and subdivision of souls

Follow Dante’s descent circle by circle through the eternal abode of lost souls, down to the pit of Hell at the center of the earth.

I came across the following study questions while researching

  1. What is the logical relationship between the vice of lust and its punishment in Dante’s hell?
  2. Why is Dante moved to tears after Francesca’s description of love (5.100-7) and why does he finally fall “as a dead body falls” after her personal account of her intimate relationship with Paolo?
  3. The episode of Francesca and Paolo, the first in which Dante encounters someone punished in hell for their sins, presents a challenge: Dante-character is overcome by compassion for the lovers even as Dante-poet has damned them to hell in the first place. What are possible consequences of this apparent gap between the perspectives of the character and the poet who are both “Dante”?
  4. From Dante’s presentation of Francesca and Paolo, we are encouraged to consider the place of moral responsibility in depictions of love, sex, and violence in our own day. We can certainly discuss music, television, movies, and advertising (as well as literature) in these terms. Who is more (or less) responsible and therefore accountable for unacceptable attitudes and behavior in society: the creators and vehicles of such messages or the consumers and audiences?

I particularly like that last question! As I continue my novel I shall be answering these questions and many more. Do you have any answers to the above?


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