Chiesa di San Romualdo, Ravenna via Baccarini 7
Ticket: Museo Tamo, Via Nicolò Rondinelli, 2
MAR, Via di Roma 13
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When analysing the figure of Dante through his works, on more than one occasion the question has arisen as to the role visual experience may have played in his writing.
Many have noticed the poet’s ability to think in pictures, drawing on a repertoire, especially in the Divina Commedia, that would undoubtedly have included his experiences of the figurative arts. This is particularly the case if you consider that he was born and grew up in Florence, a city which from the mid-13th century onwards had experienced a significant expansion in artistic activity, culminating in the work of Cimabue and of his amazing pupil Giotto (Madonna di San Giorgio alla Costa and Polittico di Badia), whose work Dante must have been familiar with, as shown
by the famous passage in Purgatorio, “Credette Cimabue ne la pittura tener lo campo e ora ha Giotto il grido”.
As a Florentine Dante was undoubtedly a privileged witness to the most salient events in local art, which in Giotto and his discovery of realism and the certainty of measurable space found a more universal and Italian dimension, just as Dante was doing at the time in his search for a language, the “volgare illustre”, that could be used throughout Italy. From this point of view, an experience of Dante’s exile, which began in 1302 and led him to various courts and cities in central and northern Italy, thus enriching his “vast heritage of images”.
He would undoubtedly have had this in mind when he was writing his Commedia, full of figurative allusions and references to the visible world.
A path that this exhibition, curated by Massimo Medica, aims to retrace, following Dante’s main stopping points until his ultimate destination Ravenna, where he ended his days seven hundred years ago. Rome, Forlì, Verona, Padua, Bologna, Lucca, Pisa and Ravenna were some of the most important places that Dante stayed in during his exile. These cities are landmarks in the exhibition, which includes some absolute masterpieces produced in his lifetime (including works by Cimabue, Giotto, Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, precious illuminated manuscripts, gold and textiles). Through them we can retrace some of the main events characterising Italian art between the 13th and 14th centuries, a time of profound change and innovation.