Dante Alighieri

Bronze-Clad "Dante Ex Cathedra" Bookends with Original Polychrome (LEO Design)


Dante Alighieri—Italy's most important poet and one of the all-time greatest writers of the Western World—changed the course of Western literature.  He affected the way we think of Heaven and the Underworld.   Dante wrote in the vernacular (not in Latin, the language of the educated elite).  Furthermore, Dante didn't write in "standard Italian"; he wrote in the dialect of his hometown, Florence.

Alas, Dante found himself on the losing side of an ugly Florentine political struggle and he was banished, on pain of death, from his beloved home city.  It was in Ravenna that Dante wrote his greatest work, the Divine Comedy.  It was in Ravenna that Dante died and was buried (and where he remains to this day).  Naturally, as Dante's important legacy grew, Florence sought to re-patriot his remains to his hometown.  Florence built him an impressive tomb in the Basilica di Santa Croce, to no avail.  Ravenna was not giving-up his body.  Popes tried.  Michelangelo appealed.  Armies were sent.  Ravenna contended, "You didn't want him in life, why should you get him in death?"

Dante's remains have rested in a handful of places in Ravenna since his death in 1321.  For many years, he laid hidden in a monastery wall, where he had been hidden by Franciscan priests from the Florentine body snatchers (and subsequently forgotten).  In 1865, while doing construction on that wall, Dante's bones were re-discovered and buried in a handsome Neoclassical tomb.  Except for a period during the bombardments of World War II, his bones have laid here and his tomb can be visited today.

The handsomely-sculpted bookends, shown above, show a bronze-clad and hand-painted Dante presiding ex cathedra—from his chair.  They certainly would add literary gravitas to any nice collection of books.  Click on the photo above to learn more about these handsome bookends.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com)

We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248