Sunday 23rd of July 2017

god is a tired sitting down comedian...

Dante's Hell...

The major work by Dante (Dante Alighieri) was originally simply titled Comedìa, begun c. 1308 and completed in 1320. The word Divina was added by Giovanni Boccaccio and became divina commedia. The first printed edition to add the word divina to the title was that of the Venetian humanist Lodovico Dolce, published in 1555 by Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari.

For Gus, Dante was a satirist if one knows one.

Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society.

A feature of satire is strong irony. ”In satire, irony is militant”

Dante’s Comedia is ironic. It is designed through various artifices, including the usage of Greek and Roman mythology, to pierce through the thick decorated coats of Christianity — especially the Catholic Church...

The Comedia was written after Dante was exiled from Florence by decree of Pope Boniface VIII, who had the anti-papal White Guelphs, a political party of which Dante was a member, expelled from the city. Followed a biting, analytical and scathingly political document, with a prevailing conviction that the early fourteenth century was a time in need of immediate divine remediation. At the time the pope was also trying to fight off the Holy Roman Empire based mostly in Germania. 

While a third of Comedia’s content is of Biblical inspiration, the remaining two thirds are a political satire that, considering the Medieval obsession with Greek and Roman literature, is little different from work of derivative fiction that might be produced today.

It must be noted that the Divina Commedia is a ‘comedy’ in the classical sense, where stories were defined as either comedy or tragedy. Comedia was written in the vulgar vernacular (Italian rather than latin), and the protagonist was better off at the end than he was at the beginning. This distinguishes it from the sad ending required of a tragedy. Looking at the text in the modern sense of the word, however, the word Comedia is an apt term — if it is taken to mean ‘political satire’.

Too many scholars though took it as a serious understanding of religious devotion. It’s not. The poem describes Dante’s travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise or Heaven; but at a deeper level, it represents, satirically, the soul’s journey towards a distant god that could not care less... At this deeper level, Dante draws on medieval Christian theology and philosophy, especially Thomistic philosophy and the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. Consequently, the Divine Comedy has been called “the Summa in verse”. But it’s not. It’s a “Comedia”. 

Every Renaissance man needed a wealthy patron, and many Italian artist-inventor-scholar-poets found theirs in Lorenzo de’Medici, scion of a Florentine dynasty and himself a scholar and poet. Lorenzo either sponsored directly or helped secure commissions for such 15th century art stars as Michelangelo Buonaroti and Leonardo da Vinci. Among Lorenzo’s many artist friends was a painter who mostly disappeared from history until the late nineteenth century, when the rediscovery of his Primavera and Birth of Venus made him one of the most popular of Renaissance artists. This was Sandro Botticelli, portraitist of Lorenzo de’Medici, his father, and grandfather and illustrator of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Botticelli also “painted” a portrait of Dante. A most famous simple painting that shows a traditional austere stern looking man, a bit like the Buster Keaton of his time.

Walter Pater, an English essayist, literary and art critic, and fiction writer, regarded as one of the great stylists wrote about Botticelli and Dante. Pater’s works on Renaissance subjects were popular but controversial, reflecting his lost belief in Christianity.

"So Just what Dante scorns as unworthy alike of heaven and hell, Boticelli accepts, that middle world in which men take no side in great conflicts, and decide no great causes, and make no great refusals. He thus sets for himself the limits within which art, undisturbed by any moral ambition, does its most sincere and surest work. His interest in neither in the untempered goodness of Angelico’s saints, nor in the untempered evil of Orcagna’s inferno; but with men and women, in their mixed and uncertain condition, always attractive, clothed sometimes by passion with a character of love and energy, but saddened perpetually by the shadow upon them of the great things from which they shrink. His morality is all sympathy; and it is this sympathy, conveying into his work somewhat more than his usual of the true complexion of humanity, which makes him, visionary as he is, so forcibly a realist”

 

Here Gus can say that in both travails, that of Dante and that of the numerous illustration of Comedia by Boticelli, god plays second fiddle — if He (god is a male) ever plays. The human condition is primarily the story and whether gods exists or not, is irrelevant. This is the elegant twist of Dante’s satire. Dante’s hell or heaven become figment of illusions designed to satisfy our need to imagine something as to why we feel pain — and die. 

 

Even as science tells us why, we still don’t want to accept the evolutionary constraints of natural life.

 

Gus leonisky

You local atheistic art historian.

 

Picture at top: detail of an illustration by Gustave Doré: Dante and Virgil, having crossed the Stygian lake, face the city of Dis. This is guarded by three hellish furies, stained in blood and female form. They are the Eumenides, or Furies, of Greek mythology.

 

Dante (attributed to Botticelli)...

Dante (attributed to Botticelli)

This portrait was painted in 1480-85, about 150 years after Dante's death (1321)...

yes, it's okay and not the first time...

 

Is it ok to make jokes about religion? What about extremism or terrorism?

Sami Shah is a comedian, former Muslim, author and ABC journalist. He says that where he comes from, the jokes never stop (because otherwise life would be too terrible to bear).

John Safran is also a comedian, author and a (moderately observant) Jew, who says comedy is a way of telling stories.

Read more:http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/godforbid/when-is-it-ok-to-laugh/8664318
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