Saturday, February 18, 2017

Inferno XIII: The Forest of Suicides

Inferno XIII: The Forest of Suicides
Ink on paper, 2016
22 x 15”

In the second ring of the seventh circle of hell, Virgil encourages Dante to pluck a twig from a thorn tree. Our hero is shocked to discover that the tree is an unnamed suicide, whose plaintive cries and oozing black blood reveal the collective fate of the entire forest.

*    *    *

As Dante and Virgil enter the second of three rings in the Circle of the Violent, they encounter the fate of those who do violence to themselves. Disembodied moans surround them and Virgil tells Dante that if he were to pluck a twig from one of the mangled trees, he might learn the story.

Dante does so, and—weeping with despair and oozing black blood—the tree ultimately unravels his story. He walked the earth as Pier della Vigna, counselor to the Emperor Frederick II. Vigna’s fated suicide was in a strange way the result of his fierce dedication and love for Frederick. His contemporaries grew envious of their close relationship and they circulated ugly rumors, causing him great shame, despair and—ultimately—death by his own hand.

In search of a different language for this drawing, I’ve developed something more of a design. 


friendlier said...

I'm an old friend of Chuck Gonzales and saw a photo you posted of a dinner with him and several others. You looked familiar to me, and after a couple of clicks found myself at this blog. Wonderful illos and a worthy project to break down The Inferno. I especially like your Minos and Farinata degli Uberti, and did not know that Dante practically invented intertemporality.

Simple, good. Thanks!

Steve Lafreniere

Robert Brinkerhoff said...

Thanks Steve—great to get this feedback. And Chuck's a prince, eh?