The Map of Hell by Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1480-1490 (Wikimedia Commons)
Sandro Botticelli (c. 1445–1510) was “unquestionably the greatest artist to take up the challenge” of illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy
, writes Graeme Wood for the American Scholar
. Botticelli died with his series of 100 drawings, one for each canto, unfinished, and then the illustrations went missing for over 400 years. In Botticelli’s Secret: The Lost Drawings and the Rediscovery of the Renaissance
(W. W. Norton), Professor of Comparative Literature Joseph Luzzi traces the history of Botticelli’s project, the drawings’ rediscovery, and their role in the resurgence of Renaissance art in the 19th century.