Monday, 23 March 2009

Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante

One for those who like spotting cultural allusions. A number of newspaper articles, such as the Telegraph's 103 famous faces in one painting, have reported on an Internet meme, the rather kitsch painting Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi and Zhang An. The Guardian's It's the painting the web is abuzz about - but what does it mean? goes into more detail: the overall style imitates the 18th century "conversation piece", with particular allusions to Raphael's Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, The School of Athens and The Parnassus. But beyond the basic depictions, the poses allude to other paintings; for instance, Li Bai is falling off his chair in the same posture as the man in Hogarth's An Election Entertainment, Rameses II sits in the classic melancholy pose of Sir Joshua Reynolds' portrait of Sterne, and so on. As to the intention, the presence of Dante might suggest these celebrities are in Hell, but this China Digital Times account says its creators merely intended to depict the sweep of history

According to Dai Dudu, the three began work on the painting in 2006, completing it 10 months later. “At the time, we wanted to represent world history within a single painting. We wanted to showcase the world’s story, and let viewers feel as if they were flipping the pages of a history book,” Dai said.

If you want a crib, Famous People Painting with Wiki Links & mouse over tagging and Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante provide identifications
- Ray

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