Encounter with Adam and the Seven Spheres of Man, Dante and Beatrice, Dante's Divine Comedy, Rectangular Pillow

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In these scenes from Dante Aligheri’s 14th-century poem, the Divine Comedy, Dante and Beatrice encounter Adam and the seven spheres of man— one scene on each side of this pillow.

The pillow measures 20 x 12 inches. The fabric is pre-shrunk polyester — soft and durable, with a moisture-resistant coating. The pillowcase is machine washable, with a concealed zipper. The resilient polyester filling insert retains its shape, and can be washed by hand. Made in USA.

Adam's Answers

Dante and Beatrice encounter Adam and the three apostles Peter, James, and John, standing in the constellation of Gemini.

Adam telepathically knows the questions Dante wants to ask him, and he answers them: How old is he? Well... he spent 930 years on earth and 4,302 years in Limbo, plus 1,266 years in heaven, so he is, as of the year 1300, 6,498 years old. As for how long he and Eve got to enjoy Eden? Between six and seven hours.

The Divine Comedy

Dante’s journey through the World of the Dead was entertaining, but not that funny – so why is it called a comedy? Because the poem ends with Dante experiencing a vision of God — that’s the mix of happy ending and Godly influence that qualified as a comedy in those days. In fact, Dante originally called it just Comedy, but a later editor changed it to “Divine Comedy”, I guess so people didn’t get the wrong idea.

These gorgeous and inventive illuminations of the Divine Comedy were produced between 1444 and 1450 — more than a century after Dante wrote it. The work was split between two artists: Priamo della Quercia took Hell and Purgatory, while the more well-known Giovanni di Paoli di Grazia illustrated Heaven.

The book originally belonged to Alfonso V, king of Aragon, Naples, and Sicily. His great-grandson, Ferdinand, Duke of Calabria, donated it to a convent in Valencia in 1538. In 1901, it was bought by Henry Yates Thompson, who donated it to the British Museum in 1941.

Dante’s companion through hell and purgatory is the Roman poet Virgil. But Virgil is a pagan, so cannot enter paradise. Thereafter, Dante is accompanied by Beatrice, based on a girl he met when she was nine years old and fell instantly in love with. He saw her again only once more, nine years later — she was a banker’s daughter and married to another banker — but she was a huge influence on Dante, as his muse.

The Divine Comedy is over 14,000 lines long, and very intricately constructed. To see the original poem, and translations, and commentary, and context, visit the delightful site Digital Dante, from the Columbia University Center for Digital Research and Scholarship.

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Original art for Dante and Beatrice Encounter Adam.

Original art for Dante and Beatrice Encounter the Seven Spheres of Man.

Thanks to the Public Domain Review and the British Museum for making these pixels accessible for public use.

See more items on Anomaly Panoply that feature Dante-related art.