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Italian painter Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia

Divina Commedia - Paradiso - illuminated by Italian painter Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia c. 1450

Divina Commedia – Paradiso – illuminated by Italian painter Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia c. 1450

Italian painter Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia
Lived from 1403 to 1482, he illustrated manuscripts, including Dante’s texts. And was one of the most important painters of the 15th century Sienese school. Giovanni’s reputation declined after his death but revived in the 20th century. After becoming the rector of the painter’s guild in 1441, Giovanni di Paolo was the clear choice to illuminate Dante’s Paradiso. Working on what is known today as “The Yates Thompson Dante”, Giovanni created 61 images to accompany the vernacular poem. In particular, Giovanni di Paolo used his unique style to create an obviously Tuscan panorama in a sun-filled world.

Divina Commedia - Paradiso - illuminated by Giovanni di Paolo c. 1450

The Expulsion from Paradise (1445) by Giovanni di Paolo c. 1450

One of the more famous illuminations from the cycle is The Creation and The Expulsion from Paradise (1445). Giovanni created a unique image by showing two separate scenes in one; God floating above the universe and the expulsion of Adam and Eve.

One theory is that God is simultaneously expelling Adam and Eve and banishing them to earth. Some scholars believe Giovanni was referencing a book called the Sphera. Made for lay people to give them a better understanding of the universe, based on Greek cosmology (Chaos), which would account for Giovanni’s number of circles and also their colors.

Italian painter Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia

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