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Dante Alighieri
by anakalivas



Oct 17, 2012 by techgnotic

Sometimes in youth we play crazy mind games. One gruesome game was trying to think of the worst way to die. Or even better, the "which would you choose" version of the same conceit. Another was what would be the worst torture to endure. If there is one international touchstone that best captures youthful fears and wonders in speculation of what lies beyond the veil of death and awaits as possible punishment for our sins, it must be - to the few who have actually read it to the millions who "know" it – "Dante's Inferno." Who does not shiver at the thought of being lost somewhere in the "Nine Rings of Hell?"



Who does not shiver at the thought of being lost somewhere in the "Nine Rings of Hell?"



True nastiness reigns on every single one of the nine levels.


Actually, the nine circles of Hell ("Inferno") are detailed only as the first third of Dante's first great masterpiece of Italian literature, "The Divine Comedy," which leads the reader on through Purgatory and then eventually into Heaven ("Paradiso"). This epic poem was like the first self-help manual, describing the how and why one falls into Hell and how to live a God-fearing life guaranteed to get you into Heaven. But over the centuries, as the fearsome images illustrating this piece mightily attest to, it is the horrors of the Inferno that have remained burned into the fearful collective consciousness of a segment of our society.













There are so many amazing fantastic images described in The Comedy for artists to bring to life:


The three-headed hell-hound Cerberus; the river Styx with its surface a roiling morass of damned souls fighting with each other; the dragon wyvern Geryon with human face, lion paws and stinger in tail. The center of Hell, usually depicted as a place of eternal fire, is in Dante's vision a place of perpetual ice. Satan himself with three his faces (red, black and yellow) and three pairs of wings, remains forever frozen waist deep in the ice.




















There are many misconceptions about Dante's epic prescription for salvation.





One needn't be the ultimate sinner to go to Hell, nor be a saint to go to Heaven.



One needn't be the ultimate sinner to go to Hell, nor be a saint to go to Heaven. Hell, I think according to Dante if you just remember to pray for forgiveness as you lay dying, you start your post-life existence in Purgatory, getting to skip all the tortures of all Hell's nine circles. In Dante's theology, the anchoring basis for all "sin" is disbelief. So if the saintliest of human beings alive on the planet chooses atheism, eternal damnation and hideous torture awaits. If a hitman sincerely prays to God, confessing his sins and swearing his belief in God, Paradise will be his eternal home after a brief detention in Purgatory.


So maybe this is why this is the one narrative, the deliriously frightening epic fairy tale, that remains lurking in the mind's shadows well into adulthood. Dante has proposed to us a cradle to grave gamble. If the Inferno is only a fairy tale, an allegorical warning against disconnection from the divine in life - then the stakes are not so high. But if Dante's vision is somehow "true" and demands belief – well, that's a whole other adult mind game with stakes that could not be higher.







I did as much research as possible with the time allowed. Do we have any scholars out there who might shed an even more educative light on the subject? Has anyone read the Divine Comedy recently? Would love to hear opinions, analysis and corrections from those of you even more familiar with the history of this material than I.











Questionsfor the reader





  1. Does the artistic exploration of theological subjects make you in any way nervous, especially in a time when the very act of depicting one religion's god and messenger can have such great impact?
  2. Does Dante's attempt to match appropriate crimes with appropriate punishments make sense – or does the concept eternal damnation in torment ruin his otherwise equitable distribution of justice?
  3. What are an artist's responsibilities when depicting subjects sacred to some who will be seeing the resulting artwork? Is caring for even a moment about possible repercussions a form of censorship and repression against art and the artist?
  4. Do you think it's fair that remembering to pray at the last moment gets you a Get Out of Hell Free pass?
  5. Are you currently living in one of the nine rings of hell right now? What is happening there?

















Sometimes in youth we play crazy mind games. One gruesome game was trying to think of the worst way to die. Or even better, the “which would you choose” version of the same conceit. Another was what would be the worst torture to endure. If there is one international touchstone that best captures youthful fears and wonders in speculation of what lies beyond the veil of death and awaits as possible punishment for our sins, it must be – to the few who have actually read it to the millions who “know” it – “Dante’s Inferno.” Who does not shiver at the thought of being lost somewhere in the “Nine Rings of Hell?”

Writers: $techgnotic
Designers: $marioluevanos
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:iconandromedaroach:
AndromedaRoach Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2015
It isn't exactly true that "True nastiness reigns on every single one of the nine levels." The first circle, Limbo, has no torments at all, and the only problem the "virtuous pagans" have there is that they are forever separated from God. This is the place assigned to Dante's guide, the ancient Roman author Virgil. He and other great thinkers live in the glorious Citadel of Human Reason, "the highest state man can achieve without God" (commentary by John Ciardi).

Contrast this with C.S. Lewis, who, being inclusivist, probably wouldn't assign "virtuous pagans" to hell at all. In the final Narnia book, The Last Battle, Emeth is a lifelong worshiper of the "pagan god" Tash, who represents Satan. Emeth speaks:

"But the Glorious One [Aslan] bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath's sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek."
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:iconmetr0n0me:
Metr0n0me Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2014
"One needn't be the ultimate sinner to go to Hell, nor be a saint to go to Heaven. Hell, I think according to Dante if you just remember to pray for forgiveness as you lay dying, you start your post-life existence in Purgatory, getting to skip all the tortures of all Hell's nine circles. In Dante's theology, the anchoring basis for all "sin" is disbelief. So if the saintliest of human beings alive on the planet chooses atheism, eternal damnation and hideous torture awaits. If a hitman sincerely prays to God, confessing his sins and swearing his belief in God, Paradise will be his eternal home after a brief detention in Purgatory.

So maybe this is why this is the one narrative, the deliriously frightening epic fairy tale, that remains lurking in the mind's shadows well into adulthood. Dante has proposed to us a cradle to grave gamble. If the Inferno is only a fairy tale, an allegorical warning against disconnection from the divine in life - then the stakes are not so high. But if Dante's vision is somehow "true" and demands belief – well, that's a whole other adult mind game with stakes that could not be higher."

The shortest summation of Dante's (and the Church's) idea of salvation is what C. S. Lewis penned: that heaven is when we say to God "thy will be done," and hell is when God says to us "thy will be done." Because God is not just another object or good thing in the universe, but the very Being of Being - in which all good things have the quality of being good - to reject God is to, in the final say, to reject all good things. One loses reason; one looses their own ability to act in freedom - because one does not pursue what is good. That is why Pride is the most damning sin. Pride says that all good things must come from the self.

Another way to put it is, Dante is telling us how even the worst of sinners can be saved if they try to order themselves rightly and put all their loves after the love of God - the love of the primal basis of all good things; but however much excellence you may have had before, if you reject that basis of good, you will end up with even the goods you did love spoilt. No one in Hell accepts their guilt, their own disordered love. If they did, they might see how to rightly order their loves, and repent, and then God would extend every mercy to draw them to Himself.

The terror of Hell is the terror of absolute insanity; and it is the terror of confronting the what we are if we try to separate ourselves from all that is good, true, and beautiful.

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:iconbrennryan:
brennryan Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013
I like how you manipulate the images. And how you put them in once piece of an art. Keep up the good work sir, hoping for more design's from you. - Dennis Wong
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:icons2do54:
S2DO54 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013
1) I welcome the discussion and admire all the art specially when the concept of God has been so adulterated by the Media and the Lunatic Fringe on the far right.
2) I think Dante perceived the concept of Karma not Hell, but his western educated mind did not allow him to see punishment and reward all experienced in the here and now. The biblical explanation of Hell is eternal separation from God, in a place created not for humans but for devils (aka the lake of fire).
Humans choose to live separated from God and therefore choose to reap Karma accordingly.
3) Art is FREE, the artist only responsibility is to let imagination rule! I often question how in the centuries past it wasn’t blasphemous to depict God the Father as a bare-chested Hippie flying through the air carried by little gay angels.
4) Its not so, it isn’t prayer that gets you out, its True Repentance and only He who can see into the hearts of men can judge who is sincere and who is a politician.
5) Yes I am living in all of the 9 rings of Hell and simultaneously in the 9 Celestial Spheres to Heaven, for I am both reaping what I have sowed and suffering the bullshit others around me are reaping and sowing, Continuously throwing flowers and rocks at each other, ain’t Karma a Bitch!
6) What’s The Worst That Can Happen? It was this question that drew me here. The worst would be that there is no hell that would make Jesus a liar. No salvation, no rewards, no rhyme, reason or purpose… That renders everything and everyone “worthless”. You die and you never existed, what could be worse than to be a meaningless clutter of amino acid devoid of soul and spirit who crawled out of the evolutionary pond’s ass to do shit and die. No recognition, no purpose, no punishment, no reward, no memories, just flushed down the eternal toilet of oblivion… I have intellect not just instinct, I can formulate questions so there must be answers, I posses reason so I must, at one point, give account.
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:icons2do54:
S2DO54 Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013
1) I welcome the discussion and admire all the art specially when the concept of God has been so adulterated by the Media and the Lunatic Fringe on the far right.
2) I think Dante perceived the concept of Karma not Hell, but his western educated mind did not allow him to see punishment and reward all experienced in the here and now. The biblical explanation of Hell is eternal separation from God, in a place created not for humans but for devils (aka the lake of fire).
Humans choose to live separated from God and therefore choose to reap Karma accordingly.
3) Art is FREE, the artist only responsibility is to let imagination rule! I often question how in the centuries past it wasn’t blasphemous to depict God the Father as a bare-chested Hippie flying through the air carried by little gay angels.
4) Its not so, it isn’t prayer that gets you out, its True Repentance and only He who can see into the hearts of men can judge who is sincere and who is a politician.
5) Yes I am living in all of the 9 rings of Hell and simultaneously in the 9 Celestial Spheres to Heaven, for I am both reaping what I have sowed and suffering the bullshit others around me are reaping and sowing, Continuously throwing flowers and rocks at each other, ain’t Karma a Bitch!
6) What’s The Worst That Can Happen? It was this question that drew me here. The worst would be that there is no hell that would make Jesus a liar. No salvation, no rewards, no rhyme, reason or purpose… That renders everything and everyone “worthless”. You die and you never existed, what could be worse than to be a meaningless clutter of amino acid devoid of soul and spirit who crawled out of the evolutionary pond’s ass to do shit and die. No recognition, no purpose, no punishment, no reward, no memories, just flushed down the eternal toilet of oblivion… I have intellect not just instinct, I can formulate questions so there must be answers, I posses reason so I must, at one point, give account.
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:iconcrimsondenizen:
CrimsonDenizen Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. no

2. sure

3. There's a thing called "Artistic Interpretation"

4. That's not how prayer works. You have to be sincere in your talk with God. If you just keep purposely doing something over and over is that feeling of shame really that sincere?

5. No but I got some shit to deal with :p
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:iconbobo564:
bobo564 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Student General Artist
1. No
2.Yes, yes it does
3.The artist must keep the message. censorship can do more harm if the message does not stay the same
4.Not really
5.Nope
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:iconhuntressray:
HuntressRay Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1. Does the artistic exploration of theological subjects make you in any way nervous, especially in a time when the very act of depicting one religion's god and messenger can have such great impact?
It actually depends on what I was looking at, be it a deity or a demonic being, I don't know. But then most of the time, such figures tend to fascinate me, namely youkais, spirits, demons, I don't know.

2. Does Dante's attempt to match appropriate crimes with appropriate punishments make sense – or does the concept eternal damnation in torment ruin his otherwise equitable distribution of justice?
I find the punishment for non-believers and etc quite unjust and unfair. It's like just because someone don't believe in a particular religion means that they will definitely be condemned in Hell for all eternity. But then maybe it was also due to my experiences with people who keep going "If you don't believe in God, you'll go to Hell!" or preaching me and saying things like, "I do respect people but not their lies (religion)." and go on with preaching about things in the Bible, I don't know.

Other than that, I do find some of the punishments quite wacky. But then maybe because we are born of different time and thus see things differently?

3. What are an artist's responsibilities when depicting subjects sacred to some who will be seeing the resulting artwork? Is caring for even a moment about possible repercussions a form of censorship and repression against art and the artist?
It actually depends on what one's intending to compose or draw. But of course, there has to be at least some sort of link, be it obvious or obscure, so that the work don't look a bit too "irrelevant" or something. Thinking about things that can offend some people may or may not be a form of censorship or repression, but then it all depends on the society and the artist as well.

4. Do you think it's fair that remembering to pray at the last moment gets you a Get Out of Hell Free pass?
No. Just, no.

5. Are you currently living in one of the nine rings of hell right now? What is happening there?
No, but a personal Hell in my subconsciousness? I suppose so. But then the "Hell" I have in my subconsciousness seem to be more of a "mental dimension" for me to explore and create concepts of its inhabitants and environment rather than anything that appear to be of a literal "Hell of suffering and punishment".
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:iconxxfatpandaxx:
XxfAtPAndAXx Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2012
1. People can do what they want and should be able to freely paint or draw or illustrate anything to their content. As long as anything isn't being pushed on me, I'm fine with it.

2. I do not believe in eternal damnation. It doesn't make sense in my eyes. No one deserves to suffer forever. I remember a quote I read somewhere once saying that "God hates the sin, not the sinner". I'd like to believe that. Plus, I don't really believe that sins are all that bad. Greed could be translated into something like the greed for love. But I don't think that's a sin. The person just feels lonely.

3. I do think the artist has to consider what they're depicting... It is technically censorship if the artist has to think twice about it though and I don't really like censorship. So my stand is that if you're going to depict offensive material, put a warning sign up. Let the possibly offended know beforehand that they may be offended. Then all is well.

4. If there is Hell, I think it should be a place where the sinner feels the pain of those they have sinned. Because all sins will affect someone else either directly or indirectly. And feeling the pain would be just punishment, in my opinion.

5. I'm confused.

I'm not even sure if I actually answered any of these questions. xD
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:icondraygonmew:
DraygonMew Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012
1: No, people are free to express themselves as they wish, but if they're trying to push their beliefs forcefully onto others, then it's simply annoying.

2: In my opinion, it only seems fair that people are punished in accordance with what they did wrong. Any excessive or unjust punishment seems strangely out of place.

3: I believe that causing an artist to think twice about what they're about to do is a form of brief censorship, but it depends on the artist whether or not to follow their original idea or to alter it. I see their responsibility as being able to express themselves.

4: I believe that it wouldn't exactly be 'fair'. They repent for everything that they did wrong, and I believe that God would have a choice whether or not to accept their prayers. Forgiveness was a trait that I hear often from Christians, but I believe that it's the decision of whoever is in control.

5: In and out.
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:iconynxthelynx:
YnxTheLynx Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
this is one of those great topics that goes on forever since everyone believes a little differently. Hell is one of those "one mans trash is another mans treasure" kind of thing. What scares me won't scare everyone else. Hell is what you make it with your actions and your actions alone. But I don't think people are just sent there because they cuss someone out or told a lie. No ones perfect
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:icondragonrider1113:
DragonRider1113 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
1) Everyone has different beliefs. Mine is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the one true Savior. When depicting this relationship, I am not nervous at all. I am willing to stand up for what I believe. However, I am wary of other's rejection to the subject. It personally hurts me when I see someone missing this amazing relationship with a wonderful God. This relationship is the only one I see as truly life-changing.

2) In my opinion, everyone, including myself, deserves eternal damnation. I don't see one sin as bigger than the other - a sin is a sin. And we are all sinners. Only by God's grace can we remove the stain of eternal life in Hell.

3) I think an artist should be respectful of any religion they wish to put in their art, even if they don't agree with it. To someone, that religion is sacred, and that should be respected. I don't think it would be censorship to simply be respectful.

4) Like I said before, everyone deserves eternal damnation, so praying right before you die isn't unfair. I think if you truly believe, no matter if it's right before you die or when you are a teenager, that Jesus died on the cross to save you from an eternity in Hell, and know it is true with every fiber of your being, then God will save you. The only thing that is unfair about it is you would miss out an a lifetime of a relationship with Jesus - but you do get to spend eternity with Him.

5) Not personally, no. There are points in time when life does feel like Hell, but I don't think this world has a thing on the actual pain of Hell.
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:iconbllixy:
bllixy Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
1. No worry. The views are there, I would just be a re-statement at best

2.I think that punishment is just but of the ring, I disagree with just a few, namely the first, second, and sixth.

3.To share, or show a thought is not the same as outright making a statement. You can create without worrying about everyone else. It is an expression of self, not of your own view under scrutiny. You can wonder and worry about the reactions but it should not hold back the artist, however yes it does subconciously or conciously supress us.

4.I do not personally believe in a heaven or hell, but if they might exist and I am swayable more so to one or the other, than I do not think just praying and believing is way to clean ones soul. Some things need a respond, and eternal happiness isn't it.

5.I inhabit no ring lol. One day maybe
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:iconloaves:
loaves Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012
Whoa, this is an extremely interesting topic you have chosen. And i salute you for having the courage to even discuss it. I think for question #1, I'd be nervous if I didn't do justice to whatever theological theme I was working with. I am respectful of other people's beliefs and am not out to hurt or invalidate others. But if i am rendering in art a theological issue i believe in strongly, I feel responsible to depict it as accurately as possible.
#2. I have not read the whole of 'inferno' but selected passages and I think the idea of different rings of hell is pretty brilliant! It makes a person much more aware of hidden sin or habits that are hurtful to others and oneself. And whatever the crime, the punishment should suit it. The idea of eternal torment is abhorrent to me but then, I am not God.
#3. That's a tricky dilemma because on the one hand, art is an expression of the artist but on the other, art is also for the viewer as well. It's a fine balance.
#4. Remembering to pray at the last minute isn't a get out of jail free card at all. It is a repentant heart and true sorrow for all the damage one has done to others' lives and to the heart of God that will open the way to eternal life.
#5. This is a humorous question if one can laugh at one's self. I'd say there are times when I feel like I am living in a section of Purgatory. For me, hell would be the total absence of love, light, the Presence of God and of all those I have loved and love. That would be Hell for me and I would be truly alone.
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:iconrisforragdahl:
RisforRagdahl Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1. I sincerely believe in artistic freedom. I've never cared one way or another what others think of my art, religious or not (though I mostly use my dA for much more light hearted and less controversial art). I think maybe if I were to depict a religion's deity in some kind of monstrous form, I might consider how many people I might offend first, but as for my own religious beliefs, as a Pantheist, it's doubtful I could accurately recreate anything.

2. There was, in no way, equal punishment in that book. Though I did find some forms of punishment interesting enough, such as becoming a tree if you have committed suicide (which only makes sense if your death involved a tree, or if you view it figuratively, if you were a recluse and didn't get out much), others I found extremely disturbing like the unbaptized babies. I always wondered what sort of god would damn a baby to eternal punishment.

3. If I honestly care about what I'm drawing, no one's opinion is going to keep me from drawing. Everything you draw/paint/etc will offend somebody.

4. I've always wondered this myself, but I have to think about it in a way I can relate. If I were to catch someone stealing and immediately afterwards they apologized, I wouldn't view it as heartfelt and could careless. But if a god was out there judging every move you make, they'd ultimately know whether or not any attempt at praying and apologizing for your sins was heartfelt. Sure, if it's heartfelt, why not be forgiving?

5. I don't want to discuss anything that could leave someone wondering about my personal problems haha
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:iconwingweaver77:
wingweaver77 Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
RisforRagdal

I think the concept of suicides punished as trees is a connection to a depressed mentality in suicide. I you have ever been depressed with suicidal thoughts you can understand Dante's thinking. As a tree they have room to grow and yet they cannot move forward or back. Trees are beautiful, but silent. If on commits suicide they could have avoided this by opening up more. To Dante (a philosopher in his own right) silence, being unable to speak, is a huge price to pay (even in hell).
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:iconrisforragdahl:
RisforRagdahl Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't even think about the silence part. Thanks for educating me, and putting it into perspective =]
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:iconartificus:
artificus Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist
I just wanted to mention, that most of the ideas and images Dante presents here, go back to ancient times. A lot of the material he used was not new. Unfortunately only very, very few scientists have taken the time to research the references Dante used.
I read the Inferno myself. It was a literature course with Sylvia Schmitz, a well known expert for german and french mediaval literature. What has that to do with Dante, you may ask. A lot. Because Dante has a bunch of references from Homer's "Odyssee", Vergil's "Aeneis" and its french adaptation "Roman d'Eneas", which also includes parts of Ovid's "Metamorphoses", and also the german adaptation "Eneit" or "Eneide" by Heinrich van Veldeke.
There are so much indicators showing that Dante must have known all these sources. So, most of Dante's ideas aren't really his. But he understood very well, how to arrange these old images to creaty something new.

Besides that he has lots of references to the present Florence at the early 14th century. Popular Citizens are mentioned with their full name, and Dante shows how and why they suffer in the rings of hell, which you could interpret as social critic, because the high society of Florence was anything but godly. But that's only a very tiny aspect about this masterpiece.
All in all, it's an extremely well planned through, highly artistic text, that is perfectly structured on so many levels, starting with the language and followed by the symmetric structure of events.

Since it's Halloween, I would have expected a more detailed presentaition of the nine rings and what heppens there to the sinners. But on the other hand, everybody can check on that on Wikipedia. ;)
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:iconclu-art:
Clu-art Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. No, I am enlightened
2. we are far beyond this today
3. artistic freedom
4. that's catholics way?
5. no idea about this
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:iconwingweaver77:
wingweaver77 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1). That would depend on my intent and how big the impact would be. If I wanted to catalyst a theological pondering in people then no i would not be nervous. Frankly there are always going to be someone who will find you depicting their God in a certain way revolting or insulting. A great impact (a vast group of disagreeing people) from my art on theological subjects would mean more people questioning their views/thoughts/concepts. So the bigger the impact the more I would feel a sense of accomplishment.

2). The Law of Contrapasso is the old law of "an eye for an eye". It means that the punishment received in Hell relates to that of the sin done on Earth. While there are some punishments that fit there are some that are out of line. For example:
Limbo: The home to the unbaptized, great philosophers/authors, and virtuous pagans. There is no punishment, but sorrow. I guess the unbaptized would make sense, but what is considered a "great" philosopher/author? Most where the Authors and Philosophers that Dante admired (i.e. bias).
Homosexuality: Dante put homosexuals in a land of fiery sand and raining sand flecks. It seems as if he based this solely on the story of Sodom in the bible for he did not fully believe they deserved to be their. Out of all the sinners (except limbo/purgatory) Dante empathizes and respects homosexuals the most.

3). During Dante's time an artist would have to depict religious subjects as seen fit by the Church. We are in the modern era. An artist is free to depict them anyway they individually see fit. I don't see caring about how your art will impact others as bad per say, but art is meant to make the viewer question themselves. In the terms of the Divine Comedy I do not see how you could depict any character or scene and not insult some religious fanatic somewhere. As an Agnostic I do not understand the issue of depicting another persons religion to the point were censorship would be the response.

4). Pray as a Get Out of Hell Free Card? I am not Catholic, but I think you also have to fully repent all sin and mean it. I do not believe that it is "fair". I know it is the typical example, but what if Hitler repented? He should be in the 9th level of hell (home to those who were traitors of God, Country, Family, and Benefactors). Granted he committed suicide (7th level, middle ring), but if with his last breath he repented I believe there would be a break in the Law of Contrapasso.

5). Hmmm I would most likely be in the 7th level (Inner Ring); home of those violent to God (Blasphemers), nature (Sodomites), and Usurers (violent to nature and art). Land of flaming sand and raining flecks of fire. Where the Blasphemers lay one the sand, the Sodomites wound in groups, and the Usurers sit on the sand.
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:iconkeko-meko:
Keko-Meko Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Student General Artist
[1] No, it doesn't make me nervous so much as it has me curious. This entire subject is very fascinating to me, regardless of the impact that God or any of his messengers may have.

[2] This is a confusing question for me to answer, as I'm open-minded to the subject, but not very well educated about it at the same time.

[3] Caring in no way goes against an artist's responsibilities, in my personal opinion.

[4] To an extent. I believe that you should have a legitimate relationship with God beforehand for that little trick to work.

[5] It feels like it. It's a swirling, livid mess of emotions and uncertainty and lies and betrayal.
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:icontinylittlefirefly:
TinyLittleFirefly Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Student General Artist
1.Does the artistic exploration of theological subjects make you in any way nervous, especially in a time when the very act of depicting one religion's god and messenger can have such great impact?
No. As an atheist, I feel pretty detached from religion and I view the artistic representations as art, not a religious statement.

2.Does Dante's attempt to match appropriate crimes with appropriate punishments make sense – or does the concept eternal damnation in torment ruin his otherwise equitable distribution of justice?
Sure. The punishment suits the crime. But if we don't believe in God, we go to Hell? It doesn't make sense to me and never did.

3.What are an artist's responsibilities when depicting subjects sacred to some who will be seeing the resulting artwork? Is caring for even a moment about possible repercussions a form of censorship and repression against art and the artist?
It's up to the artist. If you create something truly controversial, I congratulate you on your courage in putting it out there.

4.Do you think it's fair that remembering to pray at the last moment gets you a Get Out of Hell Free pass?
No.

5.Are you currently living in one of the nine rings of hell right now? What is happening there?
I don't really understand this question...
Reply
:iconpainfulldarksoul:
Painfulldarksoul Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Be unjust and go to paradise because you choose to beliefe in god, or be just and go to hell because you do not believe in god? I would be happy to go to hell because I was just.
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:iconpanicrusnik09:
PaniCrusnik09 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
Amazing. Could you do Purgatorio? This was ethereal, spectral... wow.
Reply
:icontechgnotic:
techgnotic Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
I will add it to the list.
Reply
:iconsoundmatch:
SoundMatch Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
Dammit, at some point I was expecting you to talk about the use of The Divine Comedy in today's Media: TV Shows, Games (Devil May Cry). However those artworks were fantastic.
Reply
:iconjaevairny:
jaevairny Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012  Professional General Artist
Gorgeous
Reply
:iconshinobody:
Shinobody Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
"Who does not shiver at the thought of being lost somewhere in the "Nine Rings of Hell?"
... Anyone who isn't Christian?
Reply
:iconjonathanbelmont:
JonathanBelmont Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've always believed that praying for forgiveness and going to church (etc.) area ll materialistic things that we truly don't need. I'm a Catholic and have been going to church all my life and I've always wondered the mysteries of the after life and what lies beyond the fabric of our very own existence. I've always believed that in order to find our own "paradise" we just need to be believers, true believers. I don't believe that "God" (or whatever name you want to give him) doesn't hae a face, he doesn't have feeling, he doesn't get angry and he sure as hell isn't a living being. He simply just....is. God (or again whatever faith you pursue, that Godly being or force that made the world) is everything and everything is within him, we just need to live life happy content and understand that we are part of a bigger picture and that bigger picture (God) is part of us. There is God (And by God I mean that creative force, not THE God of Christianity perse') within every living thing, hell God makes up every non'living thing as well and in order to find our "paradise" we need to live in content and love all of this world and stop f***ing worrying about things like "what place will I hold in the future" and "I need someone to pass down my legacy, if not I won't be remembered" and stop thinking about the past and future and start living in the present. I believe that one can find his own paradise in just believing and stop blaming God's for misfortunes or begging him for forgive. We need to forgive ourselves and fight the through misfortunes and live on as humans should live on. . . .

I don't know..... that is just a few thoughts I've always had. I am a HUGE fan of Dante's divine comedy!! The visuals he describes in words are fantastic and so creepy and scary to think about at the same time!! The recent video game that came out is pretty awesome too, only thing is you get to play a kick-ass version of Dante Alighieri as you travel through the 9 layers of hell and get to kick some demon ass with death's scythe hahaha its awesome!!
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:iconaverypleasinghi:
averypleasinghi Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012  Student Artist
i love the book, :)
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:iconxscreamshoutx:
xScreamShoutx Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
I have little knowledge about this matter, but I do saw the 7 Deadly Sins in History channel that touched about Dante's The Divine Comedy. I have to say that his perspective is quite intriguing. He mentions about the levels of hell. And the arts is extremely 'scary'.
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:iconteb360:
teB360 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well I'm in my last year of high school (and doing art for my HSC :D) and my friends and I still play 'would you rather'. Some of my friends come up with the most horrible situations and that makes it incredibly difficult to play the game!
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:iconbit-master:
Bit-Master Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Student General Artist
1. I find it exciting, actually. The idea that something is beyond acceptable expression only makes me more curious why.

2. As far human action goes, morality is subjective, even if everyone agrees on something. No unjust deed is rectified by another unjust deed, even it's done with the intention of justice. For example, I don't believe in execution except in the act of defending others. As far as Earth-based justice goes, whoever wears the biggest boot determines others' fate. If the mass majority grouped together against a law, there'd be no way for the minority to enforce it. Power sets the order, and the force of nature and this planet is collectively much stronger than even man. Who or whatever force creates this world is significantly more powerful and thus determines the fate of the universe.

3. It is the artist's responsibility to make their message truthful and clear. It is easy to simply be slanderous for the sake of shock value, but actually saying something with your work and bringing light on a subject will make a lasting impact. If there was no concept of censorship or the need for it, where would the impact lie if not for what it said? Another significant detail is how it's said, so perhaps the shock value is merely another element to that piece.

4. Asking for forgiveness, even at the last minute, is completely determined by the intent. If one is truly sorry, they shall be granted forgiveness. Not just from a god, but even another person, if they're so willing to let go of their grudges. If one merely says they're sorry without meaning it, their deceit ends their reign of signs with a bang. "You're not sorry, you're sorry you're in trouble." Time is not a factor in a world that doesn't experience time like we do, the soul writes its own path.

5. Limbo has the most in common with my prior experience, based on a brief article-reading. The idea of a god as anything that we describe with intentions enforced by man is dangerous to believe, because man is fallible, and relying on other ideas as law only leads to a domino-effect of misguidance. It's like a game of telephone, it's harder to communicate "what that guy said." Thus belief or disbelief in any entity is entirely up to the individual and their experience. I do believe in some force, one that I won't even try to describe, that determines how the cogs turn. I theorize that karma works less on a black-and-white scale and follows more on the various shades and colors of the individual. Their path is colored by their actions and thus the world reflects the colors they paint with. For example, if one lives a life of crime, then crime and all its associated details revolve around them. More subtly, if one scrutinizes and criticizes a lot, their world becomes sculpted around the ideas of disfunction and mediocrity, even if those around them don't see it that way. Therefore, I support the idea that we can live hell on earth through our actions.

That said, my current experience floats between gluttony, anger, and lust, with a taste of the middle ring of violence (that against yourself). They intertwine in certain ways, perhaps all subconsciously connected to each other, or different levels of the same state based on faulty ideals and views I enforce. Time will tell (me, anyway).

I really should read this book.
Reply
:iconmaster-monochrome:
Master-Monochrome Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist
I love this. I love Dante's Inferno, both the modern game and the written 'Divine Comedy'
Reply
:iconasatho:
asatho Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
me encanta una gran idea sin duda alguna
Reply
:iconkirisosha:
KiriSosha Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
cool
Reply
:iconjenevievehawke:
JenevieveHawke Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. No, I think everyone has the right to create a piece of art that gives them inspiration. A lot of that inspiration comes from the artist's religion.
2. I like both concepts. I like the idea of appropriate punishments, but I love the feeling you get from eternal damnation likes Socrates.
3. The responsibility is to show the feeling of what is depicted. If you are drawing heaven, the picture should feel like heaven when you look at it. And an artist should never insult a religion intentionally.- No.
4. If you are talking about a person with a life full of sins who failed to repent until the last moment then No.
5. Right now I guess I might be in the fifth circle but I'm working on leaving it.
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
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:iconfred647:
Fred647 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Student Writer
I am an agnostic theist, so I do believe in god, go to church, and follow christian morals, however im agnostic because you simply don't know if there is not a god, and for atheists, if there is! why would god punish sinners if he made them sin? the logic is not there I agree, but I do think that all sentient beings are special, and that they have to go somewhere. I could also be totally wrong and there could be nothing after death! Its good to keep an open mind though, even if it is modern times
Reply
:icontangsek350:
tangsek350 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Great Art!
Reply
:icondanny1210:
Danny1210 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist Filmographer
My god I love hellacious art (sorry for not contributing more).
Reply
:iconnico-boo:
Nico-Boo Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
1. I think that everyone should have his/her own religion, even if it is a common religion for great numbers of people, so if somebody wants he/she can picture HIS/HER OWN way to imagine it. Anyway I think it's a really difficult thing even to imagine something like that
2. I think that nobody can be punished for anything he has done during his life, he may have repented, he may have done different sins and may have repented for some of them or may have considered some of them good actions (always in his vision). In conclusion I think that somebody who can be really able to judge somebody for his life in an objective way can't really exist, it can't really be possible.
3. As I said before, if I should represent a sacred theme that's because I imagine it in that way, not because I know that's the real way to imagine it... Anyway I would be afraid of drawing it as I'm sure that somebody will surely look at it as the real way thing are. The most terrible thing is to think to religion with the artistic view of representing it.
4. I really don't agree, that is a really egoisti way of seeing at the religion, it shows only the fear you have in front of death. If somebody believes in some God, he should respect it and the choice of his religion in any moment of his life. If somebody doesen't respect in any way the pact of his own religion, he/she can be damned, exception made if he/she repents in a good way as soon as they have understood the sin they made. Believing in a religion you can't respect is useless, so try to find another religion more in contact with your ideas, or the best way is to CREATE a new onw religion based on your own ideas.
5. If i shoul be in hell I would live happily in the luminous castle of the non-believers, I'm an Atheist.
If you can't understand something tell me, i may have done some mistakes... =)
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:icongodofcoffee:
GodOfCoffee Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i think worst anybody could get is becoming mentally fully social, so that you would feel everything that billions of people have in real world.

Btw its 2012 why canīt we cancel religions for good?
Reply
:iconcondemption-ttk:
condemption-ttk Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
Anyone can be right or wrong, religion itself is a matter of personal opinion, interpretation, and speculation. So long as religion exists in our world, someone will say their religion is better, or is the only true religion, and if we don't believe what they do then we are set for a one-way trip to whatever version of existence is the opposite of their believed paradise. Heaven, Valhalla, Shangri-La, no matter what anyone chooses to believe in, all that matters is you not force your religion onto others and simply accept that everyone believes something different.

Two Christians (e.g.) could have opposing beliefs as to what awaits then in heaven. That doesn't make either of them wrong, just unable to see another's point of view - especially when arguments arise about religion. A Buddhist and a Muslim could call eah other enemies simply because one religion says to do something that in the other is viewed as evil or blasphemous.

I do not intend this as an argument to abolish religion - I am not so pretentious as to claim my way of thinking is right. In my mind, it is only different. Believe what you will but please, to anyone that may read this and practice this heinous act of disparaging belligerence, don't claim your belief is the only way to find whatever paradise may await us after death.

To the author and asker of questions that sparked this deliberation, I have recently finished the first of three volumes (Inferno) and as soon as possible will begin my own literary journey into Purgatory. While I do not agree with what was published considering my own beliefs, I will claim that regardless of my views of Christianity and the One True God, this epic is a tale that will make even the most stoic atheist fear the God that so many people believe in. Anyone, after reading Dante's Inferno, may still claim to not believe in God and Satan, Heaven and Hell, but anyone with an imagination cannot deny that they would not want to live an impious life should this God truly be our final judge, no offense to Minos. So believe what you will but do not claim something does not exist simply because the old mnemonic "if I can see it, if I can touch it, then it is real". Just imagine this allegorical depiction of Hell and when one person can, with full and pure honesty, not fear for their soul should Hell truly await us, then I will claim humanity has truly lost touch with the realm of imagination.

Until then, just imagine.

Whatever belief you hold dear, understand that others can and will believe something even slightly different from your view. Although, I can say with absolute certainty that the Divine Comedy is a must-read. Read this epic with an artist's point of view, not in a religious mindset, and you will come to understand.

Thank you for your time and understanding in this matter.
Reply
:iconchocokoneko:
chocokoneko Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I enjoyed reading your comment. I have not gotten a chance to read Dante's Inferno, but wow, very well said. It is interesting how people can blow something with this theme out of proportion. Admire the art and leave religion out of it. This is why we have wars. Religion has been one of the biggest triggers for it. So, I will take your words into consideration and I will take a gander at this piece. Thank you for your insight. It was a pleasure to read it.
Reply
:iconhavrrics:
Havrrics Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
I have read the Inferno in its entirety and am reading the Purgatorio now, I love these books and think it has detailed and profound ideas throughout. I highly recommend them, even if you find them to be nothing more than an interesting read.
Reply
:iconnekoninja13:
NekoNinja13 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
what do you think would happen to an agnostic person; someone who isnt sure, or believes in another god/gods
Reply
:iconskyepanda98:
SkyePanda98 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012
I love Dante's Inferno... AND God of War.
Reply
:iconmilovanf:
milovanf Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Cool pictures. Love it!
Reply
:iconalexias-ashley:
Alexias-Ashley Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
heres a question:
lets say praying at the last moment of death wont get you out of hell.
if you killed someone to save someone , would you still be damned?
if you killed someone to save more lifes would you still go to hell, does that make you a monster or a hero?
Reply
:iconkrystian3polish:
Krystian3Polish Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Well, considering god never gave the person the power to decide who will live I'd say in his eyes you would be dead
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