Journey through the Dante Urbinate: Purgatory, Canto XXIV. Stairway to Heaven

The long journey through the Divine Comedy is about to reach its final stage, as the climb towards Paradise begins. We have arrived at the seventh Terrace, where souls are sent for the sin of Lust. We can see the red, blue, and black hoods over the heads of Virgil, Dante, and Statius, against the wall of flames.

In the background on the right, night is falling and we see each poet has stopped to rest on a step in the staircase that leads up to the earthly paradise (XXVII, 1-63).

The mountain’s peak is on the left side of the stairs, overlooking a plain with eight flowering trees. There is a blue sky with a group of stars further in the background (XXVII, 64-108).

The vignette was probably drawn in the fifteenth century but may have been painted during the second period of decorative work in the seventeenth century, possibly by Valerio Mariani (with the possible exception of the plain with the trees and the sky).

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

Illumination from Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia, Ms. Urb. lat. 365, f. 175r, 1478-1482, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

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