A few days ago I finalized the composition of Canto 2 in my Dante's Inferno series. The subject of this panel will be Beatrice Visits Virgil in Limbo. The purpose of this panel is to introduce Virgil to the story. I was able to communicate with Dr. Kleinhenz over the weekend to get his feedback on the composition. In Dore's composition, it merely has the two characters in an open field. I wanted to be sure that the surroundings of "limbo" were properly illustrated.
In Dr. Kleinhenz's words, "Dante describes the Noble Castle with the greensward inside the walls and the darkness that reigns outside the bubble of light that enclosed the castle and all the inhabitants. This representation is perfect, for it captures well the typical manner of describing pre-Christian folks as being in darkness before the coming of the light. The light that illuminates Limbo essentially is their “light of reason” that is sufficient for themselves but not for their salvation. The darkness that encloses the light is the perfect way to describe the plight of the pagans who are self-sufficient but lacking the divine light that did/does not penetrate the surrounding darkness.
But what about Beatrice’s visit? Well, she would have come to see Virgil, who undoubtedly was conversing with his fellow poets, perhaps on the greensward – there is no reference in the poem to a bower of shade trees, etc., as Dore and others portray the scene – but without doubt within the confines of the castle."
For this, I have decided to illustrate their surroundings as being in the ruins of a castle with an open courtyard. A light from Beatrice will illuminate much of the composition. The model I've selected to play Beatrice will be Adrienna who has modeled for my paintings of Daphne and Delilah.
I'm really excited to work on this painting. Unfortunately, I may have to take the night off. I worked a little too late last night and only slept 3.5 hours before I had to get the kids ready for school. Tomorrow I'll rough in the scenery a little more and punch up the contrast for the following layers.