It was to celebrate the 6th anniversary of Dante's death that in 1920 the project for a monumental edition of Dante's work came to life, financed by the lawyer Rino Valdamieri, together with other private investors. Amos Nattini executed the edition: he worked on the illustrations, the typographic aspects, the creation of the characters and the technical aspects. He therefore made 100 watercolors, one for each canticle, which were subsequently lithographed. 1000 copies were printed in hand-made rag paper 140x100 cm with leather cover of white calf. It took 20 years and 7 months to complete the artwork. Nattini also wanted a lectern to contain the three volumes weighing about 27 kg each: it was made by the cabinetmaker Eugenio Quarti, based on a drawing by architects Giò Ponti and Tommaso Buzzi.

Purgatorio, Canto XIX. We are between the IV and V frame, among the souls of the greedy and the prodigal. Nattini manages to bring back to paper the atmosphere of the dawn of a new day that rises. The sun is cloaked in the morning mist. The colors are cold, almost recalling the sensation of the fresh air in the early morning. The light, not too intense, touches the horizontal bodies of the penitents, who weep as they lie on the ground. The composition, very well studied, is mainly composed of vertical lines, which emphasize the height of the slopes of the mountain of Purgatory that the protagonists are traveling on, in contrast with the position of the bodies that is thus more emphasized. Dante is kneeling before the soul of Pope Adrian V, while Virgil is a few steps behind. Nattini shows off his ability to render the bodies lying on the ground extremely truthfully. Each soul is caught in a different posture, they fidget or indulge in their own pain. Each body is different from the one next to it, but in all of them the artist defines a tense, rich, anatomically defined musculature.


  • Title: Purgatorio Canto XIX
  • Creator: Amos Nattini
  • Date Created: 1939/1939
  • Physical Dimensions: cm 82 X 67
  • Type: lithography
  • Rights: Fondazione Cariparma
  • Medium: lithography

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