The Divine Comedy has been visually interpreted by countless artists in the last seven centuries, however, few have stood out. First came Sandro Botticelli, then Gustave Dore, Francesco Scaramuzza, Amos Nattini, and also the great Salvador Dali. Now, a contemporary artist, Dino di Durante, has taken the challenge again.
Dino Di Durante's visual journey of Dante's Inferno started in 2007, with the idea of making a comic magazine. This idea expanded into a book of illustrations, and later to an animation film where most of the painting come to life in Dante's Hell Animated, which is available on DVD and VOD. His unique and extensive 72-piece collection gave life to Dante's Hell Animated (2D animation), as well as Dante's Hell a 108-minute feature hybrid film. The latter, featuring over 30 celebrities, professors and Dantologists (Dantisti) from both the United States and Italy, which will be released during the Cannes film festival in May, 2022.
When Boris Acosta produced and directed his first documentary, Dante's Inferno - Abandon All Hope, he realized that it had to be made in black and white because there weren't many illustrations in color available in 2008. So, making the film in black and white was the only smart thing to do.
However, it wasn't what he wanted to do in the first place. So, he decided to produce a collection of paintings to make a more meaningful interpretation of Inferno, as well as color rich, and accurate illustrations than were not available at that time. What he didn't know was how long it would really take. He thought that a few months would be enough, but he was far wrong. It took 9 years! Why so long? Because he didn't take into consideration that he's a perfectionist and would not bend for the best he could accomplish.
Most paintings went through a painful process of over 100 versions, review after review.
Directing art was Boris Acosta's first time and it was not an easy task. He wanted everything fast, but even though the paintings were coming along great, there were many interpretation mistakes made in the process. Time was not on his side and his artist, Dino Di Durante, needed some help, which he got from Avetik Balaian and Riccardo Pratesi.
Time passed as Boris Acosta took a deep study of Inferno because there were too many things that were interpreted literary and he didn't feel it right. After 2 years of analizing Dante's key words in the poem, he thought that lower hell could be a volcanic development under Earth. So, he investigated about the geological aspect of such development in relation to what Dante said, and the magic happened, he saw it with Dante's eyes and the main film, Dante's Hell had to be re-edited with a new paintings collection by Dino Di Durante. Furthermore, while Dino was making the changes needed for the film in a new shocking collection, Boris continued to investigate the demons in hell. He asked himself, what are they made of, and what feeds them. So, he got a new study in his hands, the reptilian beings. Dino Di Durante new collection took 3 additional years to complete, which forced releasing the film Dante's Hell to be postponed.
Dino Di Durante is a concept artist himself, who took on the hard task of bringing to life Dante's Inferno on canvas that made their way into film and books. The details, rich colors and accurate representation where accomplished with the help of Lucia Checchi, Avetik Balain and Dantologist Riccardo Pratesi. Durante's profound interpretation of Hell surpasses that of all others who have attempted to understand what Dante Alighieri put into words over seven centuries ago.
Dino Di Durante's second Inferno collection was done all by himself with nobody's help, money had run out, but he believed in Boris' thesis.