Thus Issuing We Again Beheld the Stars

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, illustrated by Amos Nattini

By Biblioteca Sormani

Danteum - Divina Commedia illustrata da Amos Nattini.Biblioteca Sormani

The Divine Comedy illustrated by Amos Nattini

Milan's Central Municipal Library preserves one of the 1,000 numbered copies of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, illustrated by Amos Nattini (1892 - 1985) and published between 1931 and 1941.The work consists of 3 imposing volumes (81x65 cm), one for each cantica, printed by the Casa Editrice Dante (Dante Publishing House) founded by Nattini and Valdameri. Each volume was produced with extreme attention to detail, using paper made from rags in the town of Fabriano; the print characters, designed by Nattini himself, are inspired by "primitive Latin types" and are engraved on a copper plate in the form of etchings; each cantica has a hand-embossed calfskin cover.  The three volumes, acquired in the 1930s, survived the bombings of 13th August, 1943 thanks to effective precautionary measures and, stored in the specially designed "Danteum" on display in one of Palazzo Sormani's state rooms, still form part of the Library's collection.

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"When she had ended, her bright beaming eyes
Tearful she turn'd aside; whereat I felt
Redoubled zeal to serve thee. As she will'd,

Thus am I come: I sav'd thee from the beast,
Who thy near way across the goodly mount
Prevented."

(Hell, canto II)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"Ah me! how full
Of noble anger seem'd he! To the gate
He came, and with his wand touch'd it, whereat
Open without impediment it flew."

(Hell, canto IX)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"And I, when he to me outstretch'd his arm,
Intently fix'd my ken on his parch'd looks,
That although smirch'd with fire, they hinder'd not

But I remember'd him; and towards his face
My hand inclining, answer'd: 'Sir! Brunetto!
And art thou here?' "

(Hell, canto XV)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"Hearing the air cut by their verdant plumes.
The serpent fled; and to their stations back
The angels up return'd with equal flight.

The Spirit (who to Nino, when he call'd,
Had come), from viewing me with fixed ken,
Through all that conflict, loosen'd not his sight."

(Purgatory, canto VIII)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"We had reach'd
The summit, and were fix'd like to a bark
Arriv'd at land."

(Purgatory, canto XVII)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"A month and little more by proof I learnt,
With what a weight that robe of sov'reignty
Upon his shoulder rests, who from the mire

Would guard it: that each other fardel seems
But feathers in the balance. Late, alas!
Was my conversion: but when I became
Rome's pastor, I discern'd at once the dream
And cozenage of life."

(Purgatory, canto XIX)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"The increate perpetual thirst, that draws
Toward the realm of God's own form, bore us
Swift almost as the heaven ye behold."

(Paradise, canto II)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"And thus it answer'd: 'A short date below
The world possess'd me. Had the time been more,
Much evil, that will come, had never chanc'd.

My gladness hides thee from me, which doth shine
Around, and shroud me, as an animal
In its own silk enswath'd'."

(Paradise, canto VIII)

La Divina Commedia / [immagini di Amos Nattini!] by Dante AlighieriBiblioteca Sormani

"Here shalt thou look on either mighty host
Of Paradise; and one in that array,
Which in the final judgment thou shalt see."

(Paradise, canto XXX)

Credits: Story

We would like to thank the Bennicelli and Larini families for granting permission to publish Amos Nattini's illustrations of the Divine Comedy.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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