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Visions of Dante

Artistic Inspirations

Frank Schroeder

Frank Schroeder
French, born 1961
Dante’s Inferno, 2018
Acrylic collage on canvas
83 x 112 inches (210.8 x 284.5 cm)
Courtesy of September Gray Fine Art Gallery (1 image)

In a composition of swirling energy, color, and motion, Schroeder lays out his vision of Dante’s Inferno—including the circles of Hell, suffering souls and their demonic tormentors—while also acknowledging the possibility of redemption through struggle. Schroeder’s work is inspired by the paintings of the French masters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and here he quotes from Henri Matisse’s Dance at upper left and Pablo Picasso’s Guernica at center. These iconic influences combine in his practice with the visceral forms and immediacy of urban art, his personal experience with the vestiges of French colonial history, and violence in his travels in war-torn Côte d’Ivoire.

Of this work, Schroeder writes: “After reading The Divine Comedy, I was interested in having my own version of Hell and its different circles...I wanted my version more like a play than a painting. I wanted to describe all the mixed feelings in Hell: justice, tears, cries, desperation, evil, suffering, redemption and sorrows. For me, Hell is not necessarily black and dark…The use of colors is also to illustrate the three parts of the poem: Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. My Inferno becomes a ballet where souls, evils, judgments and penalties are mixed...Maybe we can be better and win our place in Heaven walking through the Good and The Bad. Our souls can be delivered from evil through this long and hard journey. My Inferno is a theatre, a global vision of Hell and its circles, but also a sacred song of redemption.”

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