Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pictorial :: Michael Mazur

I've been reading Dante's Commedia lately.  During my research, I stumbled upon a gorgeous collection of Inferno etchings, made by painter Michael Mazur.  Enjoy.

Midway on our life's journey, I found myself
In dark woods, the right road lost.  To tell
About those woods is hard - so tangled and rough

And savage that thinking of it now, I feel
The old fear stirring: death is hardly more bitter.
-Inferno, Canto I.1-5
He hurled the sinner down, then turned to rush
Back down the rocky crag; and no mastiff
Was ever more impatient to shake the leash

And run his fastest after a fleeing thief.
The sinner sank below, only to rise
Rump up - but demons under the bridge's shelf

Cried, "Here's no place to show your Sacred Face!
You're not out in the Serchio for a swim!
If you don't want to feel our hooks - like this! -

Then stay beneath the pitch."  They struck at him
With over a hundred hooks, and said, "You'll need
To dance in secret here - so grab what seam

You're able to, in darkness."  They then did
Just as cook have their scullions do to steep
The meat well into the cauldron - with a prod

From their forks keeping it from floating up.
-Inferno, Canto XXI.43-58

We had left him, moving on
When I saw two shades frozen in a single hole -
Packed so close, one head hooded the other one;

The way the starving devour their bread, the soul
Above had clenched the other with his teeth,
Where the brain meets the nape.  And at the skull

And other parts, as Tydeus berserk with wrath
Gnawed at the head of Menalippus, he chewed.
-Inferno, Canto XXXII.124-131

Dante, Inferno.  Translated by Robert Pinsky, The Inferno of Dante.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994.

The entire collection of Mazur's Inferno etchings can be viewed online here.


Nevis said...

Particularly enjoyed the second etching. Reminds me of Goya's "Saturno" painting. Have you seen it?

dcornelius said...

I have seen that painting, yes. And it is terrifying.

My art history isn't what it should be, but I'd imagine that Mazur was influenced by Goya.

Nevis said...

They definatly have a similar nature. I remember I saw the origional "Saturno" in Madrid a few years back and it has never left my mind. Such an gripping painting.