« Since I was a child, Dante’s Hell has been a sour­ce of inspi­ra­tion for me. I can say that it taught me to ima­gi­ne and dream. »

Leonardo Frigo

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Main Sponsor

Provincia di Vicenza
Città di Vicenza

Organizer:

Informations

Opening Hours

Tickets can be pur­cha­sed direc­tly at the tic­ket offi­ce of the Basilica Tuesday to Sunday — 10am – 6pm 

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    The Artworks

    Identity & History

    Dante Alighieri was born in Florence to Alighiero di Bellincione and Bella degli Abati bet­ween May and June 1265 under the sign of Gemini (« when I fir­st felt the Tuscan air » as he him­self sta­tes in Paradise XII, 112 – 117). He was bap­ti­sed with the name of Durante, of which Dante is a dimi­nu­ti­ve, on March 26th, 1266, the day of Holy Saturday. On that par­ti­cu­lar day in Florence it was custo­ma­ry to bap­ti­se at the bap­ti­ste­ry of San Giovanni all the chil­dren born during the last year. Alighiero also had ano­ther wife, Lapa of Chiarissimo Cialuffi, with whom he had two other chil­dren, Francesco and Gaetana.

    In 1285 Dante mar­ried Gemma of Manetto Donati and he had three sons from her and (perhaps) a daughter: Giovanni, Iacopo, Pietro and Antonia. The lat­ter pro­ba­bly beca­me a nun and took the name of Sister Beatrice. In 1289 he par­ti­ci­pa­ted in the bat­tle of Campaldino, in which the Florentines defea­ted the Aretini, and in the stor­ming of Caprona. In 1295 his poli­ti­cal career began with the enrol­ment in the Arte de Medici e Speziali, one of the seven guilds of arts and craf­ts that con­tri­bu­ted to the eco­no­mic deve­lo­p­ment of Florence in the Middle Ages. He was a mem­ber of the coun­cil of the Hundred and was final­ly elec­ted prior from June 15th to August 15th, 1300.

    Pope Boniface VIII, when the impe­rial seat was vacant, he tried to inter­fe­re in the poli­ti­cal affairs of Florence to extend his domi­nion over the who­le Tuscany. Furthermore, the discre­pan­cies bet­ween the lan­ded ari­sto­cra­cy and the power­ful mer­chant class led to the split­ting of the Guelphs into two fac­tions, White and Black, hea­ded, respec­ti­ve­ly, by the Cerchi and the Donati fami­lies. The Black Guelphs favou­red papal ambi­tions whi­le the Whites defen­ded the inde­pen­den­ce of their city at all costs. During the prio­ry, Dante sent the lea­ders of the two fac­tions into exi­le. The pro­vi­sion, howe­ver, it didn’t help becau­se it resul­ted in an increa­se in exa­spe­ra­tion bet­ween the two par­ties. It was in this hea­ted con­text that Dante cho­se to take the side of the Whites. Boniface VIII sent Carlo of Valois to Florence to calm the con­flic­ts bet­ween the two fac­tions. He, at his fir­st chan­ce, exi­led the White Guelphs from the city in 1301.

    In 1302 Dante was sen­ten­ced to pay a fine of 5000 flo­rins as he was unju­stly accu­sed of fraud and to prac­ti­se bar­ra­try. Dante didn’t pay the fine and so he was sen­ten­ced to the sta­ke. Therefore, he was for­ced to go into exi­le to avoid con­vic­tion. The poet was invol­ved in the fir­st attemp­ts of the Whites to regain con­trol of Florence, but they were all in vain. After a long wan­de­ring in search of asy­lum throu­ghout Italy, he arri­ved in Ravenna in 1318 and set­tled at the court of Guido of Polenta. Here he died in September 1321 and was buried in the Franciscan church that they remai­ned, in his eyes, the pure­st expres­sion of the Christian cler­gy. Many years later, in 1780, the car­di­nal lega­te Luigi Valenti Gonzaga erec­ted a neo­clas­si­cal sepul­chre for the poet, desi­gned by the Ravenna archi­tect Camillo Morigia, to resto­re nobi­li­ty and deco­rum to his burial.

    Leonardo Frigo
    « Dante’s Inferno »

    Leonardo Frigo, is an Italian arti­st born in Asiago in 1993. He lives and works in London sin­ce 2016. After com­ple­ting his stu­dies in Art Restoration at the International University of Art of Venice in 2015, after some
    expe­rien­ces in the resto­ra­tion sec­tor in France (Cathedral of Notre Dame of Chartres), he moved to London.

    Over the cour­se of near­ly a deca­de, he acti­ve­ly pain­ted mostly string instru­men­ts, crea­ting this uni­que art form with the pur­po­se of com­bi­ning music, art and lite­ra­tu­re in a sin­gle object. Through stra­te­gi­cal­ly embed­ded sym­bols, illu­stra­tions and tex­ts, his works sti­mu­la­te the public to inte­ract with the tools in an alter­na­ti­ve way.

    Passionate about the world of art from an ear­ly age, he par­ti­ci­pa­ted and exhi­bi­ted his fir­st works in Venetian cities.

    Then, thanks to the col­lec­tion of seven vio­lins, dedi­ca­ted to the « Seven Deadly Sins » and a cel­lo inspi­red by « The Four Seasons by A. Vivaldi », Leonardo has par­ti­ci­pa­ted in suc­ces­sful exhi­bi­tions in Europe and beyond, inclu­ding Italy, South Korea, France and England. In gene­ral, his bio­gra­phi­cal illu­stra­tions have gai­ned world­wi­de acclaim.

    In December 2020, after five years of work and research, Leonardo fini­shed the « Inferno » col­lec­tion, a tri­bu­te to Dante Alighieri for cele­bra­tions of the 700th anni­ver­sa­ry of his death (1321–2021).

    The main aim of the arti­st is to pro­mo­te and share Italian cul­tu­re in the world, throu­gh his own art.

    Thanks to the « Inferno » pro­ject, Leonardo has alrea­dy shared Dante Alighieri’s master­pie­ce in Europe, United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia and Asia, in anti­ci­pa­tion of inter­na­tio­nal exhibitions.

    Currently the arti­st is wor­king on new arti­stic pro­jec­ts and he is dedi­ca­ting him­self to the dis­se­mi­na­tion of the « Inferno » col­lec­tion, con­cei­ved as a tra­ve­ling exhibition.