Largest Divine Comedy illustration ever digitized

Digitized the largest ever illustration of the Divine Comedy created by Enrico Mazzone on a single 97 x 4 meter sheet.

Between Feb. 6 and 7, the complete digitization of Rubedo, the titanic feat of Turin-based artist Enrico Mazzone who created the largest ever illustration of Dante Alighieri ’s Divine Comedy on a single sheet measuring 97 by 4 meters, will be accomplished. A feat that began in 2015 in Finland and was completed in Ravenna at the mezzanine floor of the Mercato Coperto, thanks to the hospitality of Beatrice Bassi and Leonardo Spadoni-a grand tribute to Dante on the 700th anniversary of his death. The digitization was commissioned by the Ravenna City Council Tourism Department and the Ravenna Open Laboratory, by the social promotion association Cultural Heritage 360.

Ravenna’s Cultural Heritage 360 team, an association founded with the aim of enhancing artistic heritage and offering young graduates and cultural heritage professionals the opportunity to put their skills to use on projects of public interest, will carry out a digitization of the work in high resolution, using technologies at the service of digital heritage.

“It was a pleasure for us to welcome Enrico to Ravenna to complete his work,” said Tourism Councillor Giacomo Costantini. “Several times I had the opportunity to deal with him, and it was precisely from the problems of installing such a mammoth and complex work that I proposed to the artist the possibility of digitizing it. From this cue came the opportunity to involve the selected Cultural Heritage 360 reality thanks to the work done by the Open Laboratory in Ravenna. This initiative facilitates the fruition of the work, even with innovative techniques, at a later time.”

A work accomplished in five years of intense work, with thousands of pencils, a bit of madness and a lot of creativity: Mazzone used the dotted technique simulating the lithographic etching technique. Rubedo is the final fulfillment of A Path with Dante.

The drawing was born and conceived in Rauma, Finland and on some excursion trips to Iceland and Greenland. The local paper mill UPM, through Petteri Halonen and Katarina Valtonen donated a reel of paper measuring 97 x 4 meters to Enrico Mazzone in 2015. Local Cultural Councilor Risto Kupari and Raumars OY Art Collective promoter Hannele Kolsio supported the project until 2020. The artist has had great artistic success on the Finnish territory, where he has exhibited in more than seventy exhibitions and collaborated with libraries and high schools, and also with the Dante Alighieri Society and the Italian Cultural Institute in Helsinki.

“Life sometimes holds surprises in small moments, the important thing is to make yourself open and available,” commented Beatrice Bassi of the Ravenna Covered Market. “So it happened on a day in June, in a spectacular Rome still deserted, where my partner, Leonardo Spadoni, and I met Vittorio Sgarbi after visiting the Raphael exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale. Vittorio, who knows he can count on Leonardo’s and my passion for art and beauty, was looking for us specifically to ask for a hand in supporting this young artist, whom he jokingly calls ”Caravaggio“ because of his thick, untamed hair. Enrico was missing the last 30 meters to complete an immense work, and the destiny of the work’s conclusion, like his artist’s dream, could only be in Ravenna. So Vittorio asked if we had a suitable place to host him to complete the last 30 meters of the drawing, and instead of thinking of a closed place, my thoughts immediately went to this floor of the Covered Market. This is an inclusive place, a space for cultural gathering and living, and bringing this work here meant for me to make it usable for the city and allow visitors to interact by ’contaminating themselves with art and passion.’ So it was. The work, the artist and the transformation of this floor into an art atelier attracted the attention of media and institutions, but also students, visitors and enthusiasts. And it was really great to experience the excitement of this journey and to see it every day in Enrico’s eyes. This digitization, for which I sincerely thank the municipal administration, is another step toward wider enjoyment. A titanic drawing, so material and of ancient technique, is enriched with elements of absolute modernity, thanks to the technological skills of young talents, creating a perfect blend of ancient and contemporary. We will continue to support Enrico, art, culture and his work.”

Pictured is Enrico Mazzone. Ph. Credit Simon Bergman

Largest Divine Comedy illustration ever digitized
Largest Divine Comedy illustration ever digitized

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