Mœbius Illustrates Dante’s Paradiso

Sal­vador DalíGus­tave DoréAlber­to Mar­ti­niSan­dro Bot­ti­cel­li, the ear­li­er and less-rec­og­nized Pri­amo del­la Quer­cia and Gio­van­ni di Pao­lo — all of these artists have tried their hand at illus­trat­ing Dante Alighier­i’s Divine Com­e­dy. We have, in turn, fea­tured all their efforts, each of a strik­ing­ly dif­fer­ent sen­si­bil­i­ty and aes­thet­ic inter­pre­ta­tion of the har­row­ing jour­ney out of the mor­tal realm and into the under­world described by this much-stud­ied, much-trans­lat­ed, and just plain much-read 14th-cen­tu­ry text. But none of those artists, despite the rich­ness of their visions, spoke direct­ly to the late 20th and ear­ly 21st cen­tu­ry. For a tru­ly mod­ern Divine Com­e­dy, behold the work of Jean Giraud, bet­ter known as Mœbius.

Mœbius, who passed out of this mor­tal realm him­self in 2012, made his name with comics like Blue­ber­ryArzach, and The Air­tight Garage of Jer­ry Cor­nelius — though to call these works, which belong simul­ta­ne­ous­ly to the fields of sci­ence fic­tion and fan­ta­sy while tran­scend­ing the both of them, noth­ing more than “comics” belies the artist’s abil­i­ty to escape their con­ven­tions of sto­ry­telling and com­po­si­tion as if he’d nev­er encoun­tered them in the first place.

The dis­tinc­tive results attract­ed a fair few col­lab­o­ra­tors, both actu­al and hope­ful; you may remem­ber our post on his sto­ry­boards and con­cept art for Ale­jan­dro Jodor­owsky’s nev­er-real­ized adap­ta­tion of Dune, but he also lent his hand to such com­plet­ed motion pic­tures as Alien, The Abyss, and The Fifth Ele­ment.

“In 1999, Nuages Gallery in Milan pub­lished three illus­trat­ed edi­tions of Infer­no, Pur­ga­to­rio, and Par­adiso,” says Bow­doin’s Dante Today. Nuages select­ed a dif­fer­ent illus­tra­tor for each, result­ing in L’In­fer­no di Loren­zo Mat­tot­tiIl Pur­ga­to­rio di Mil­ton Glaser (who, though he would have pre­ferred the Infer­no, still pro­duced an also strik­ing­ly mod­ern take on Dante), and, final­ly, Il Par­adiso di MœbiusWe’ve includ­ed three pieces of the lat­ter’s art­work here, but if you’d like more insight into the mind that cre­at­ed them, have a look at In Search of Mœbius, the BBC doc­u­men­tary we fea­tured after the artist’s death — a death that means, among oth­er loss­es, that our world will nev­er see the Divine Com­e­dy ani­mat­ed film it needs.

You can find works by Dante in our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks col­lec­tions. A Yale course called Dante in Trans­la­tion appears on our mega list, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

via Red­dit

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Botticelli’s 92 Illus­tra­tions of Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy

Gus­tave Doré’s Dra­mat­ic Illus­tra­tions of Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy

Alber­to Martini’s Haunt­ing Illus­tra­tions of Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy (1901–1944)

Sal­vador Dalí’s 100 Illus­tra­tions of Dante’s The Divine Com­e­dy

Dante’s Divine Com­e­dy Illus­trat­ed in a Remark­able Illu­mi­nat­ed Medieval Man­u­script (c. 1450)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture as well as the video series The City in Cin­e­ma and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshallor on Face­book.

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