Telling Dante between engravings and digital. Limosani's innovative project

Dante. The Eternal Poet, Felice Limosani's multimodal project on display at the Complesso Monumentale di Santa Croce in Florence from September 2021.

From September 14, 2021 to January 10, 2022, the Monumental Complex of Santa Croce in Florence will host the exhibition Dante. The Eternal Poet, by Felice Limosani. A project that is part of the celebrations for the seven hundredth anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death, promoted by FEC - Fondo Edifici di Culto del Ministero dell’Interno, Comune di Firenze, Opera di Santa Croce and Felice Limosani Studio s.r.l. Benefit Society.

This is a multimodal project that aims to explore a new paradigm capable of scientifically connecting the museum experience with seemingly different fields, such as digital education and social benefit.

Through the iconic engravings of illustrator Gustave Doré, multimedia artist Felice Limosani does not intend to explain the Divine Comedy, but to narrate Dante Alighieri and the relevance of his universal message. The exhibition The Eternal Poet stems from the artist’s idea to actualize the work of Gustave Doré and recount Dante’s human adventure, starting from the extremely rich cultural, moral and spiritual legacy left by the Supreme Poet. A project that right in Santa Croce, Dante’s space par excellence, intends to reconcile the figure of Dante with his hometown and with some of the places of the Poet’s biography. All this with the cultural language of Digital Humanities, of which Limosani is one of the main artistic interpreters, with an approach that associates humanistic disciplines and digital technologies.

The work of rereading Dante’s legacy is made possible thanks to the scientific direction of Professor Enrico Malato, in collaboration with the Pio Rajna Center - Study Center for Literary, Linguistic and Philological Research, and the fundamental support of an important Scientific Committee that counts the Honorary Chairmanship of Beatrice Garagnani Ferragamo, composed of Don Alessandro Andreini, Lucia Battaglia Ricci, Paola Berardino, Paolo Conti, Luca De Biase, Don Alfredo Jacopozzi, Enrico Malato, Father Gabriel Marius, Maria Marzullo, Andrea Mazzucchi and Jeffrey Schnapp.

The basic idea of the exhibition project is to create a large exhibition through content processed to be usable also in the form of digital education in schools and in scientific programming for the benefit of social activities and hospital care.

Starting with the digitization of 135 plates by Doré, made available thanks to the Fondazione Alinari Firenze, the images of Dante’s otherworldly journey from Hell to Paradise will form a path perfectly in harmony with the Brunelleschi Cloister, the Pazzi Chapel, the Crypt and the Cenacle of Santa Croce. The layout includes three levels of display with backlit static images, animated images with projections and movement in images through virtual reality, for an intimate and contemplative enjoyment combined withinteractive and digital experience.

“The ongoing digital revolution,” Felice Limosani stressed, “on the one hand opens up new visions of expression with unprecedented languages, and on the other is changing the way culture is represented, enjoyed and disseminated. The combination of technology and art offers an innovative synthesis, in the form of digital humanities, greater than the sum of both. In this dimension, historical cultural heritage can be actualized and shared as multidisciplinary experiences that are interwoven in the museum, educational and social spheres, coming to combine culture, education and solidarity. By emancipating from old models and with a scientifically rigorous approach, one can also trespass on entertainment and spectacle to spread quality culture and knowledge to more people.”

Thanks to next-generation technologies and multimodal design, the contents of Dante. The Eternal Poet will continue to spread the Dante experience with experiential dissemination and experimental curation models developed with the innovation platform H-Farm Treviso. In this regard, collaborations have already been initiated to plan technical scientific work that variously involves educators, teachers, pedagogists, psychologists, sociologists, neuroscientists and experts from the San Patrignano Community, the Meyer Children’s Hospital Foundation in Florence, the Dino Compagni Institute in Florence and the San Niccolò Conservatory in Prato.

“Recent published studies,” said Beatrice Garagnani Ferragamo, "have shown that cybertherapies and simulated multisensory realities, positively impact reintegration, social rehabilitation and treatment programs. This evidence makes it immediately understandable how positive and concrete the impact of a project like Dante. The Eternal Poet on fragile and disadvantaged individuals such as people subjected to restrictive measures caused by drug addiction, gambling, alcoholism, or patients, inpatients, prisoners, bringing real social benefit. The relevance and strength of Dante’s message, the high educational value of the content covered, and the immersive and engaging language used to convey it make Dante. The Eternal Poet a pioneering project that opens up new cultural paradigms and represents a key opportunity to elaborate an innovative educational and training experience appropriate to the times, of which I am happy and honored to be an ambassador."

Pictured is Felice Limosani’s digital processing of Gustave Doré’s engraving (Paradiso, canto 31, 1-3)

Telling Dante between engravings and digital. Limosani's innovative project
Telling Dante between engravings and digital. Limosani's innovative project

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