The Italian Cultural Institute of Lisbon inaugurates today at the National Library of Portugal the third stage of the international circuit of the exhibition “Un mirabile Inferno. Dante illustrated by Amos Nattini “, promoted by the Direzione Generale per la Promozione del Sistema Paese and by the Analysis, Planning, Statistics and Historical Documentation Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and presented at the Palace of Farnesina in September 2021, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.
The exhibition consists of the first 17 cantos of Hell, 16 of which are illustrated, and some pre-text tables that are part of the monumental edition of Dante’s Divina Commedia, illustrated by the Genoese painter Amos Nattini (1892-1985). The lithographs come from a particular copy of the book, probably the test print of one of the one-thousand numbered copies, unexpectedly found in the archives of the Farnesina Library of the MAECI. Research on the specimen made it clear that these lithographs were donated by the painter himself in 1927 to the then Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dino Grandi.
The restoration of the volume and illustrations was possible thanks to the work of the Central Institute for the Pathology of Archives and Books (Istituto Centrale per la Patologia degli Archivi e del Libro – ICPAL) and is part of the heritage of the Farnesina Library.
Born in Genoa in 1892, Amos Nattini dedicated many years of his artistic life to the illustration of the Divine Comedy, giving life to one hundred “Imagini“, one for each canto, starting from Hell. Although imagined as early as 1915, the work began to take shape only from 1919, with the outlining of Dante’s sixth centenary (1921). The watercolor paintings (the oil technique was tested only for the image of the first Canto of Purgatorio) were exhibited on various occasions, with great initial success, in the most important Italian and European centers, until 1939, the year of the realization of the illustration of the XXXIII Canto del Paradiso.
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