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Divine Comedy Image Archive
Le Purgatoire de Dante Alighieri
Le Purgatoire [et le Paradis] de Dante Alighieri. Frp, Gustave Dore, 1868.

Cornell’s Divine Comedy Image Archive

The Divine Comedy Image Archive (DCIA), a digitization project under the aegis of the 2011 Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences, Cornell University, is a repository of scanned images from illustrated editions of Dante Alighieri’s poem found in the Fiske Dante Collection, Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library. These images derive from editions of The Divine Comedy published from the Incunabula period (ending in 1500) through the early twentieth century. The DCIA is available to researchers and scholars at all levels; researchers may download and utilize the images for study, instruction and publication (on line or in print), subject only to an acknowledgment (“Image(s) courtesy of the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library”) upon publication. All the images in the DCIA are from titles presumed by their age to reside in the public domain.

The Fiske Dante Collection was a gift from Daniel Willard Fiske, first university librarian of Cornell University. Retired and living in Florence in the 1890s, he compiled his Dante collection of editions and critical literature in the space of three years and sent the books to Cornell. The collection page includes additional references, among them the digitized a Catalogue of the Dante Collection presented by Willard Fiske, compiled in two volumes (1898-1900) by Theodore Wesley Koch, and supplemented by a volume of Additions in 1920, compiled by Mary Fowler. Books in the Fiske Dante Collection are also described in the on-line catalogue of the Cornell University Library.

The DCIA project envisions the inclusion of approximately 2000 images from the most significant illustrated editions of The Divine Comedy. Most of these illustrations are engravings—woodcut, copper or steel—and vary considerably in original size, quality of execution and style.

Descriptive data accompany each image, detailing bibliographical source, names of artists responsible for the illustrations, numerical order in the relevant canticle and edition and provenance of the source volume.

The images from The Divine Comedy are high-resolution color, publication-quality scans created by Digital Consulting and Production Services (DCAPS), Cornell University Library. Currently at approximately 1000 images, the DCIA anticipates including some 2000 scans for the definitive version of the archive.

Search/browse the digital collection


Divine Comedy 1487 edition
La Commedia, 1487.

The metadata for DCIA include the following fields:


The Divine Comedy Image Archive is directed by Professors Karen E. Pinkus, Marilyn Migiel and William J. Kennedy of Cornell University, and funded under the 2011 Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences, Cornell University. Initial funding for digitization was generously provided during 2010 through the Leading Edge Initiatives Fund of the Herman Goldman Foundation.

Digital Consulting and Production Services (DCAPS), Cornell University Library, have provided the expert digital photography of Rhea Garen for the DCIA. Project planning, design and system support have come from Danielle Mericle, Mira Basara, Jason Kovari, Stephen Rokitka and Melissa Kuo Wallace.

Christian Y. Dupont, a Dante scholar, encouraged the DCIA project and offered valuable counsel on the selection of editions for inclusion.

The Divine Comedy Image Archive was developed by Patrick J. Stevens, Cornell University Library.