September 12, 2021 marks the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the greatest poet of Western Christianity. While Dante has had a profound impact on art over the centuries, Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz has undertaken an ambitious project to sculpt Dante’s magnum opus, The Divine Comedy.
Mr. Schmalz is the artist behind the famous Homeless Jesus statue, which can be found at churches throughout the world. He has also sculpted large public memorials such as Angels Unawares, the Canadian Veterans’ Memorial and Golden Leaves. His latest project, sculpted amidst the COVID lockdowns, is possibly his most ambitious and will feature 100 individual sculptures walking people through Dante’s work on Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. He will thus be the first artist to depict all 100 cantos of The Divine Comedy.
Today on the Catholic Exchange Podcast, Timothy Schmalz describes his creative process and how Dante has had such an impact on his work. Mr. Schmalz also tells us about the parallels he sees between Dante-in-exile and the general feelings we all feel in our chaotic world. Through all this, we find in Dante a companion for the road who restores our hope in Providence of God. Today’s episode is especially a great start if you have a love of Dante’s work or want to dive into his great poem.
Find more info about the Dante gardens and sculptures at the site DanteSculpture.com, where you can see the many beautiful sculptures. You can also follow Mr. Schmalz’s work at his website or Facebook. Learn more about the premier at Florence’s Badio Fiorentina at their website.
Finally, take a look at our previous coverage of the art of Timothy Schmalz:
- Creating Art as an Act of Prayer (podcast)
- Art as Theology: A Conversation with Timothy P. Schmalz (podcast)
- The Homeless Jesus Statue, the Year of Mercy and the New Evangelisation by KV Turley (article)