The Paradox of the Divine Architecture in Dante’s La Divina Commedia

By Tessa Morrison.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

La Divina Commedia was written nearly 700 years ago and for much of that time it has been closely examined and scrutinised across many different levels: the sources; the meaning; the linguistic structure of the poem; the hidden subtexts; the influences; the analogies and the numerology of the poem have all been analysed in detail. However, a totally neglected area of the great work is the architecture of the universe that Dante created, particularly the architecture of Paradise and the Celestial Rose. Dante attempted to create a universe that was truly Euclidian and one that was fitting for the Divine Architect with His compass and straightedge, a popular image of his time. However, Dante inadvertently created a four dimensional universe that was beyond the geometric understanding of his time. The universe that Dante created in La Divina Commedia cannot be drawn with a compass and straightedge. This paper examines Dante’s architectural metaphors, the structure of his universe, and the paradox that it creates.

Keywords: Spatial Symbolism, Architecture, Dante

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.295-310. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 811.400KB).

Dr. Tessa Morrison

Research Fellow in Architectural History, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Dr Morrison has a background in art, mathematics and philosophy. She is currently working as an ARC researcher in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at The University of Newcastle and has published extensively on geometric and spatial symbolism.


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