Rembrandt’s Belshazzar’s Feast, Tintoretto, William Blake, and Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s painting of Sappho each rely on words.
Just before he ascends to the terrestrial heaven on top of the island-mountain of Purgatory, Dante dreams of sisters Leah and Rachel, from the Bible.
Where the gluttons are starved of food and water, and are emaciated as a result. In the next terrace, they are purged of lust by a wall of flames.
Two paintings of the martyrdom by stoning of Saint Stephen, one by Rembrandt, together with Gustave Doré’s fine engravings take us further up the mountain of Purgatory.
So into the first terrace of Purgatory proper, for those who suffered from pride. On up to the second, for the envious, whose eyelids are sewn shut.
As they can’t continue ascending Purgatory after dark, Dante and Virgil rest overnight in a valley with rulers. In the morning, Dante has been carried up to the gate into Purgatory itself.
Look at statues of the Virgin Mary, and they often show her with a foot on a snake. What has that to do with the Immaculate Conception? Rubens, Tiepolo and Caravaggio have the answer.
The Judaeo-Christian tradition lacks any goddess, unlike its predecessors in Mediterranean cultures. Is there an equivalent among its saints, or the Virgin Mary? An exploration in paintings.
The souls of those who delayed their repentance until shortly before death stay in Ante-purgatory for a whole lifetime. Among them is a virtuous wife who was murdered by her husband.
Dante and Virgil sail to the island-mountain of Purgatory, where they are met by Cato. They then start its ascent, illustrated by William Blake, Doré and others.