Dante 700 Exhibition

The year 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death, and his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, is more relevant than ever.

It’s a story about hitting rock bottom and making the arduous but joyful climb up to the stars. Dante’s tale is proof that the only way out is through.

Reading the Diving Comedy, you find yourself immersed in poetry, beauty, and a deeper understanding of the universal human experience.

Of course Italy, and particularly Florence, the birthplace of the poet, are celebrating the anniversary, Covid or no.

I was fortunate to have a look recently at the exhibition on view at Santa Maria Novella. It is a group of oversized color photographs, beautifully displayed. Here is info on the exhibit from the brochure:

“In what used to be the dining hall of the monumental complex of Santa Maria Novella you can find the photography exhibition “Dante 700 – A portrait of Dante and the poet’s places in the photographs of Massimo Sestini”.

“Organized by MUS.E and sponsored by the City of Florence and the Florentine Civic Museums, with support from the Ministry of Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the exhibit was first shown in the Quirinale rooms in Rome, where it ran until October 11, 2020, kicking off the celebrations of the 700th anniversary of the death of the great poet in 2021.

“Calling upon the artistic advice of Sergio Risaliti, art critic, curator, writer and director of the Museo Novecento in Florence, and the scientific advice of Domenico De Martino, professor at the University of Pavia and director of the Dante 2021 festival in Ravenna, “Dante 700” is an exciting journey through 23 special shots in search of the legacy left to us by the author of the Divine Comedy.

“Massimo Sestini, an internationally renowned photo-reporter, pursues this theme and analyzes it with a highly original eye with experimental and unconventional photography techniques. It ranges from Florence to Ravenna, where Dante’s remains are preserved, passing the source of the Arno River on Mount Falterona. It also goes to Venice, Rome, Verona and Poppi, to discover the extent in which the poet’s countenance continues to be part of our lives.

Below are just a couple of shots of the photos on display.

I love this photo, showing a high school classroom, in which the teacher guides the students through the initial lines of the Divine Comedy. It’s Covid season, judging from the teacher’s mask.
I want to learn to print in the Italian manner. I love the way the writing looks.
The photographer reveals not only art in his works, but also a sense of humor. This photograph places the contemporary, famous Tuscan chef, Dario Cecchini, in the guise of Dante!

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