Like many love stories, artist George Cochrane’s is about overcoming impossible odds.
The Love Story & The Passion Project
To fully grasp these odds, let us turn back time to visit George in high school.
After disastrously failing his French class, George was told he had no capacity to ever learn a living language.
Interested in the whole story of how “La Divina Commedia – The New Manuscript” came to be? Check the index of articles here.
Placing George in Latin class and hoping for the best, his teachers couldn’t have possibly imagined the results.
A few years later, George took up Italian and Spanish, and using Latin as his baseline, he began to overcome his supposed handicap.
Amidst this life changing experience, George met Dante Alighieri for the very first time.
During his junior year abroad in Florence, Italy, George purchased his first copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
While sensing the greatness of the Divine Comedy, George had a hard time understanding the depth of its immortal message.
“An artistic vision took hold: to make a new illuminated manuscript using his comic font and illustrations, a version of the Divine Comedy that would make Dante’s poem contemporary through art, and his message approachable to younger generations.”
The Flame That Wouldn’t Go Out
It seemed hopeless, but Dante kept re-entering George’s life like a flame that wouldn’t go out, and George was drawn to that flame.
During research on his graphic novel about Homer’s Odyssey, George began reading literary critic James Joyce.
Joyce swore that Dante was a greater writer than Shakespeare himself. Impossible!
Having been trained that Shakespeare’s work was the epitome of sophistication and complexity of language, George was perplexed, and decided to give Dante another try.
“Everything happened in paint for me”, says Cochrane. Drawing was an afterthought at first. With the graphic novel and illuminated manuscript, he’s challenging himself to do everything he has doubts about as an artist. (Photo and art: George Cochrane)
Finding his current copy impossible to read, George sought out a number of different copies to compare.
As he delved deeper into the world of Dante, he quickly fell in love. His new obsession led him to develop an idea for a chapter in his graphic novel, where Dante leads him around his own high school the way Virgil leads him around the Inferno, and where George got to settle some old scores just like Dante settles some old scores.
In order to achieve this, he needed to study Dante – REALLY study Dante. All of the obstacles he had overcome had brought him to this very moment, and he was ready for the challenge.
700 Years of Art Celebrating Dante
Not long after this moment, George learned that 2021 would be the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.
An artistic vision took hold: to make a new illuminated manuscript using his comic font and illustrations, a version of the Divine Comedy that would make Dante’s poem contemporary through art, and his message approachable to younger generations.
George ended his journey on the Odyssey graphic novel and fully committed himself to the path of Dante. To this day, after 7 years of tireless work, he continues on this path, still striving to fulfill his dream of creating a new and complete Divine Comedy manuscript by 2021.
“A true masterpiece, this visually stunning manuscript is Dante’s Divine Comedy as you’ve never witnessed it before.”
It is now 2021, and George’s Divine Comedy is nearing completion. A true masterpiece, this visually stunning manuscript is Dante’s Divine Comedy as you’ve never witnessed it before.
Based on 700 years of art, from illuminated manuscripts, to Botticelli and Doré, the manuscript is entirely penned and illustrated in graphic novel style by George himself.
To make even more accessible for today’s readers, an English version will be produced alongside the original Italian.
Help Make This Project of a Lifetime Possible!
And now, as we enter this special year, we welcome you to play an active part in this extraordinary project. Without modern day patrons like you, this work of a lifetime will remain unpublished.
Stay tuned as we prepare for the launch of our upcoming Kickstarter to fund the publishing of this magnificent volume!
Don’t Miss Out!
Interested in the whole story of how “La Divina Commedia – The New Manuscript” came to be?
1. George Meets Dante: The Love Story & The Passion Project (you are here)