Dante Alighieri

About Dante Alighieri

Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) was a Florentine poet, language theorist, and statesman. He was born into a noble but impoverished family, which sided with the Guelphs (who supported the papacy) in their complex opposition to the Ghibellines (who supported the Holy Roman Emperor). The Guelphs were to triumph, but they split into two factions, leading to Dante’s exile from Florence.

His works include La Vita Nuova (The New Life), which describes his love for Beatrice Portinari, the prose De vulgari eloquentia, a Latin treatise arguing for the value of vernacular literature, and most famously, the Commedia (usually known in English as The Divine Comedy, though Dante never used the adjective), an epic poem about the poet’s descent into hell, through purgatory, and into heaven. Its inherent qualities, and Dante’s decision to write it in vernacular Italian (such works would normally be written strictly in Latin), mark it as an innovative masterpiece of world literature.

Dante Alighieri's Works

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