Dante Statue

Dante Statue, Florence, Italy

Public Art : Dante Statue

Sculptor : © Enrico Pazzi (1819-1899)

Date Unveiled : Unveiled in 1865 on the sixth centenary of Dante's birth.

Description : Carrara marble statue of Florentine poet Dante Alighieri (c.June 13, 1265 – September 13th or 14th, 1321). Placed high on a plinth surrounded by lions. Dante is clutching his robes around his body and has an eagle at his feet.

Location :  To the side of Piazza di Santa Croce, Florence, Italy. Originally the statue was placed in the middle of the Piazza but was later moved to the side as it was interfering with the Calcio Storico the annual historical soccer game (which is still played to this day).

History of the Dante Statue : The Dante Statue was created by sculptor Enrico Pazzi, in honor of the great poet's birthday (six centuries later). The event was a huge public spectacle with the unveiling conducted in front of the King of Italy and the people of Florence.

Who Was Dante? : Durante degli Alighieri (c.1265 – September 14th, 1321) was better known as Dante, "The Supreme Poet".

Enrico Pazzi Controversy : For centuries there has been a fight over the remains of Dante. Having being exiled from his beloved Florence, Dante's bones remained in Ravenna despite numerous efforts to have them returned to Florence. The custodians of the body at Ravenna refused to comply, and decided to hide the bones in a false wall of the monastery. Well, blow me down if an envelope wasn't found in the National Central Library of Florence, in 1999, containing ashes believed to be that of Dante. No one saw that one coming. To cut a long story short, it was believed the box containing the skeleton of Dante, was eventually found by workmen at the two chapels of Rasponi and Braccioforte, in Ravenna, in 1865. The filthy box was placed on a carpet whilst the remains were examined. Here is where Enrico comes in . It is rumored that the sculptor, in an act of devotion to the great poet, swept up the dust from the carpet, thinking there may be some fragments of the bones mixed with the dust. He placed the "dust" in several envelopes (sounds a tad loopy to me) and then gave them to the director of the National Library in Florence, in 1889. Over a hundred years later one of those envelopes was discovered, starting a flurry of interest. Enrico should have just kept chiseling, I say.

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