Sculptor Timothy Schmalz has undertaken an expansive project to celebrate Dante. This
anthology of pieces represents the first sculptural interpretation of the entire work the
Divine Comedy in 700 years. The project highlights equally the three parts: Inferno,
Purgatory and Paradise.
A life-size portrait of Dante writing the first canto marks the beginning of the journey
through the sculpture garden. From this representation of the poet will follow a series of
sculptures representing all of the cantos (chapters) of the Divine Comedy. Each canto will have its own sculptural relief interpretation created in a bronze, page like panel that will be installed in sequential order so one can visually read the Divine Comedy. These
sculptures are large enough to hold detailed narrations while small enough to still retain
These individual sculptures will interpret the poem in a way that highlights the message
of the canto, providing a perfect introduction to the poem for viewers new to the work.
The reliefs will also be appealing to the scholar, offering a new way of experiencing
Dante. The Divine Comedy is filled with vivid imagery which form the inspirations for
these new sculptures.
The Dante sculpture project, once installed, will create a unique garden where one can be with nature and enjoy Dante’s epic poem. Contrary to how most people experience the Divine Comedy - which is usually in a library or study - the Dante Gardens will provide a natural outdoor environment, where one can actually walk through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. The viewer will have his own journey following Dante’s path.
This Dante sculpture garden will not only create a unique and beautiful surrounding, but
will also will create a space for education, culture and spirituality. This special place will
hopefully inspire new generations of Dante readers and scholars.
The original bronze casts of the 100 sculptures will be installed in Italy. The final cantos
will be sculpted in the Badia Fiorentina Chapel in Florence and finished on the 700th
anniversary of the poet’s death on September 14. Other casts of this beautiful anthology will be installed in meaningful locations around the world.