Journey through the Dante Urbinate: Purgatory, Canto IX. The gate to Purgatory

We have finally reached the gate of Purgatory. On the left, half-hidden by the rocky shore, we can barely see Saint Lucia who carries Dante’s sleeping body, followed by Virgil, from the Valley of the Princes to the gate of Purgatory, Peter’s Gate. In the foreground, on the right, Dante and Virgil find themselves standing before the Angel at Peter’s Gate.

The angel is seated on the three steps of the gate, the first made of white marble, the second of a dark stone, and the third of red porphyry. The angel uses the point of his sword to mark the letter P seven times on Dante’s forehead, one for each of the seven deadly sins for which the souls are purged in each of Purgatory’s seven terraces. Meanwhile, Dante is on his knees begging for mercy and beating his chest.

Franco dei Russi and workshop.

Source: La Divina Commedia di Federico da Montefeltro. Il Dante Urbinate. Commentario.

Illumination from Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia, Ms. Urb. lat. 365, f. 115r, 1478-1482, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

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