Friday, January 12, 2007

What did Dante Look Like?

Get the scoop here (

While not "the best looking man in the world", he created what can arguably be called the most perfect epic poem ever, Latin, Greek or vernacular.

Of course, the article makes mention of his death in Ravenna, where he was exiled. In life, he was "persona non grata" at his home town in Florence where, being a White Guelph, he was out of favor. After his death and the success of the Commedia-well, now that's a different story. The Florentines sent several delegations to Ravenna to reclaim their famous son, Ravenna has steadfastly said "senza possibilita". That's Italian for "No way, Jose"! (I know, maybe it should be "Giuseppe", but what would that do to the rhyme?)

1 comment:

D.A. Silvestri said...

Non of the portraits I have seen of Dante appear very flattering. A rather forbidding visage reminiscent of an Italian landlord i once had. According to Boccaccio "his face was long, his nose aquiline, his eyes rather big, his jaw large, and his lower lip protruded beyond the upper.
His complexion was dark, his hair and beard thick, black and curly, and his expression was melancholy and thoughtful." (English trans J.G. Nichols, Hesperus Press, 2002)Later portraits show him beardless.
Perhaps, like his Master he was a man who had nothing overmuch to attract the eye, but a commanding presence, a man of sorrows, and aquainted with grief.