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Cantica21. Italian Contemporary Art Everywhere – “Concerning Dante – Autonomous Cell” by Jacopo Valentini

Winner of the Under 35 Section of the Public Call Cantica21. Italian Contemporary Art Everywhere promoted by the Directorate General of Cultural and Economic Promotion and Innovation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry of Culture with the aim of enhancing Italian contemporary art, supporting the production of works by emerging and established artists.

Over the centuries, the cultural significance of Dante’s Divine Comedy has gone beyond the purely literary sphere, influencing various aspects of society thanks also to a vast tradition of visual transpositions. Concerning Dante – Autonomous Cell is a meta-project on the relationship between literary text and landscape, and on the evocative power of the Divine Comedy that, over the centuries, has shaped the perception of places to the point of characterizing them as “Dantean”. Jacopo Valentini investigated a series of places in Italy mentioned by the ‘Supreme Poet’ and, by relating them to other landscapes and still lives with the same visual potency, created analogies for a Dantean geography. Valentini’s visual narrative unfolds around three symbolic places and three famous illustrations from Dante’s text, interweaving the Phlegrean Fields, the Pietra di Bismantova and the Delta of the River Po– interpreted as the gateways to Hell, Purgatory and Paradise – with the imagery of Federico Zuccari, Alberto Martini and Robert Rauschenberg.

The project Concerning Dante – Autonomous Cell is accompanied by a publishing initiative of Humboldt Books (Milan), a publishing house specializing in storytelling and travel experiences that creates interdisciplinary projects by crossing geography, literature and art. The eponymous volume presents the photographic work in its entirety and is accompanied by texts in Italian and English by literary historian Claudio Giunta and art critic Carlo Sala.

The exhibition will run for five monts until 25.03.2023, the National Dante Day, Dantedì. 


  • Organized by: IC Addis Ababa - Humboldt Books Milano
  • In collaboration with: MAECI - MiC - Embassy of Italy