Watercolours on rough paper, size
Inspired by Dante and the illustrations of Gustave Dorè, again.
This time it's Canto XIII of Inferno, where Dante and Virgil find themselves in the Seventh Circle.
The Seventh Circle houses the Violents. Its entry is guarded by the Minotaur and it is divided into three rings: in this painting I represented the middle ring.
In this ring are suicides and profligates. The suicides – the violent against self – are transformed into gnarled thorny bushes and trees and then fed upon by Harpies. Dante breaks a twig off one of the bushes and from the broken, bleeding branch hears the tale of Pier delle Vigne, who committed suicide after falling out of favour with Emperor Frederick II.
The trees are a metaphor for the state of mind in which suicide is committed. Dante learns that these suicides, unique among the dead, will not be corporally resurrected after the final judgement since they gave away their bodies through suicide; instead they will maintain their bushy form, with their own corpses hanging from the thorny limbs.
Their punishment is decided by Dante out of analogy: considering they willingly gave up on their human form when alive, they are bound to be transformed into trees, a second-rate form of life, after death.
"Must have died a thousand times