Amos Nattini (1892 - 1985)
Canto XXVII of 'Inferno': The Fraudulent Advisers
112 x 80 cm
Biblioteca del Centro Studi Danteschi, Ravenna
In 1921, the Istituto nazionale dantesco in Milan commissioned Amos Nattini (1892 - 1985) to produce the illustrations for a special commemorative edition of Dante`s La Divina Commedia
It was to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the great work by Dante
Nattini was to produce one plate per Canto illustrating the events described in that Canto. There were one hundred Imagini
For Nattini it became a major work which for twenty years consumed his attention
The third and final volume was only completed in 1941
Nattini’s work was much acclaimed in Paris, Nice, and The Hague, thanks to its innovative techniques and highly original figurative approach. Instead of black-and-white drawings, colour (watercolour and oil) was used.
His paintings were minute and delicate, and betrayed a divisionist influence.
A relatively unknown and regrettably undervalued work especially outside Italy
The image illustrates the Eighth Circle of Hell in the morning of Holy Saturday.
In that circle are the advisers who offer advice "full of fraud": either in what they say to their hearers or by inciting or assisting others in fraud
The main figure whom Dante meets in this Canto is Guido da Montefeltro (1223 – September 29, 1298).
He was an Italian military strategist and lord of Urbino. He gave up his temporalities and became a monk late in life
As a Franciscan monk he is called to advise the then Pope Boniface VIII, the arch-enemy of Dante
Boniface wished to crush the Colonna family.They had opposed his election of the Papacy after the abdication of Celestine V. Their stronghold was the fortified town of Palestrina
Boniface wants to know what he has to do to take the city. He promises absolution to Guido if he does
Tempted, Guido succumbs and advises Boniface to promise the Colonna safety and then when they have surrendered to slay them and capture the city
Boniface does as suggested and captures the city
A great scandal: Christians defrauding other Christians to their death
Thinking that he has been promised absolution, Guido does not repent before death. On death he is thrown to Hell not withstanding the mighty intervention of the great St Francis himself
Dante points out the invalidity of Boniface`s promise, since absolution requires contrition, and a man cannot be contrite for a sin at the same time that he is intending to commit it
In other words, the Pope conned the conman as well as the Colonna
"The crowned prince of the new Pharisees —Going to war close to the LateranAnd not against the Saracens or Jews"(Since every enemy of his was ChristianAnd not one of them had gone to conquer Acre90 Or been a trader in the Sultan’s country) —"Ignored the high office and holy ordersBelonging to him and ignored the cinctureWhich once made men — like me — who wore it leaner:"But just as Constantine sought out Sylvester95 On Mount Soracte to heal his leprosy,So he sought me to act as his physician"To help heal him of the fever of his pride.He asked me for my counsel — I kept quietBecause his words seemed from a drunken stupor.100 "Then he said, ‘Your heart need not mistrust:I absolve you in advance and you instruct meHow to knock Penestrino to the ground.
" ‘I have the power to lock and unlock heaven,You know that, because I keep the two keys105 For which my predecessor took no care.’"His weighty arguments so pressured me thenThat silence seemed the worse course, and I said,‘Father, since you cleanse me of that sin" ‘Into which I now must fall — remember:110 An ample promise with a small repaymentShall bring you triumph on the lofty throne.’
"Francis — the moment that I died — came thenFor me, but one of the black cherubimCalled to him, ‘Don’t take him! don’t cheat me!115 " ‘He must come down to join my hirelingsBecause he offered counsel full of fraud,And ever since I’ve been after his scalp!
" ‘For you can’t pardon one who won’t repent,And one cannot repent what one wills also:120 The contradiction cannot be allowed.’"O miserable me! how shaken I wasWhen he grabbed hold of me and cried, ‘PerhapsYou didn’t realize I was a logician!’
"He carried me off to Minos who twisted125 His tail eight times around his hardened back,Then bit it in gigantic rage and blared," ‘This is a sinner for the fire of thieves!’So I am lost here where you see me goWalking in this robe and in my rancor."
130 When he had finished speaking in this fashion,The lamenting flame went away in sorrow,Turning and tossing its sharp-pointed horn.
Pope Francis said recently:
"Oftentimes we think that going to confession is like going to the dry cleaners to get out a stain, but it isn’t. It’s an encounter with Jesus who waits for us to forgive us and offer salvation”
One of the many allegations being thrown about by the press about the Church in Scotland concerns confession:
"Lenny recalls being a young priest, accompanying an older priest who would rise to great heights in the church. The older man was drunk and was ranting about men who left the priesthood. Why leave to have sex? Why didn't they just visit a sauna and go to confession in the morning?"
Hopefully this is only a fabrication.