Dante’s Reimagined Divine Comedy Bursts Forth from the Pen of Artist George Cochrane. Information on Prices and on the Upcoming Kickstarter Campaign.
The Divine Comedy Unveiled in New York: the Project
Dante’s reimagined Divine Comedy bursts forth from the pen of artist George Cochrane. Every page is painstakingly hand-lettered and sublimely illustrated in graphic novel style. This is the towering and innovative work that Cochrane has created over the past seven years. Its publication will celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death.
The New York-based artist is also a Professor of Fine Arts at Farleigh Dickenson University in Florham, New Jersey.
Concept and Inspiration
Cochrane’s ambitious vision: to create a contemporary illuminated manuscript that draws on 700 years of Commedia-inspired art, including Michelangelo and Botticelli, Dore and Blake, while presenting new generations of readers, neophytes and experts alike, with a dynamic and accessible volume.
It was in the examination of the medieval illuminated manuscripts that preserved and immortalized Dante’s masterpiece that Cochrane found the ideal form for his own work. His artistic alchemy, combining the glory of the Illustrated Manuscripts and the genius of Graphic Novels creates a splendid and incomparable edition.
The Middle Ages in New York
In the Middle Ages, groups of scribes and illuminators collaborated to create these treasured manuscripts. For seven years, George Cochrane assumed both roles as he labored in his own “scriptorium,” his New York studio. Outside his door, his beloved city underwent enormous changes and struggled mightily with the siege of a pandemic like the one that claimed so many of Dante’s contemporaries.
Kickstarter Campaign + Prices
Italian publishers Giovanni Scorcioni and Giulia Fogliani of Facsimile Finder, known for their broad expertise in the field of illuminated manuscript replication, are partnering with George Cochrane to bring about his ingenious reimagining of Dante’s epic poem.
In mid-March, a crowdfunding campaign via Kickstarter.com will launch La Divina Commedia – The New Manuscript. There one can choose from five different fine editions and related artwork ranging in features and price.
The Vermilion edition, unlimited, will start at 144 USD; additional versions will be announced at the beginning of the campaign, with prices up to 33,000 USD (for the fully hand-colored single copy #1, signed and customized by the artist).
Facsimile Finder will produce the volumes entirely in Italy and San Marino.
The Only 21st-Century Illustrated Manuscript of the Divine Comedy in Digital Dante at Columbia University. (https://digitaldante.columbia.edu/image/cochrane-illustrations/)
“My careful investigation of the illustrations and text convinced me that the project was the most philologically and historically well-informed illustrated edition of the Divine Comedy I had seen.”
— H. Wayne Storey, Professore Emerito di Italiano e Studi Medievali, Indiana University
“George Cochrane’s illustrative project revisits the 14th and 15th century tradition of illuminated manuscripts in an extremely original manner, proposing in page after page his personal focus on the text. To this end Cochrane measures himself against the iconographic and compositional solutions undertaken by the artists who over the centuries have translated the poem of Dante into images, and innovatively filters them through his personal critical and esthetic sensibility. The result is a decidedly intriguing work of considerable interest in the figurative tradition of the Commedia.”
— Lucia Battaglia Ricci, Professor of Italian and distinguished Dante expert, University of Pisa.
“George Cochrane’s iconographic and publishing enterprise is unprecedented and teaches us how to approach Dante. Cochrane, who comes from the tradition of comics, in fact approached the Comedy starting from the text, studying its language and even going back to the characteristic handwriting of the fourteenth-century illuminated manuscripts. Then he compared the figurative solutions that the great, and the greatest artists before him have attempted over the centuries to “imagine” what Dante “saw”. Finally, Cochrane attempted an original synthesis, which was meant to be both ancient and modern, full of echoes of tradition and at the same time [very] highly personal. Thus, we can read Dante’s journey transcribed word by word, with philological attention, by a contemporary New York amanuensis. And above all we can “see” Dante’s “vision” through images of great efficacy, vigorous, and often amusing, which express our sensibility as people of the 21st century.“
— Simone Casini, Professor and Researcher of Humanities, University of Perugia.
Press Kit: http://facsi.ms/divina-commedia-press-kit