Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shelf Candy Saturday #72: Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man, by Barbara Reynolds

Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!!

This weekly feature
showcases beautiful book covers,
and provides information,
if available, on their very talented creators!

For more information
about Shelf Candy Saturday,
just click HERE.

This is my choice for this week!

Hardcover, 448 pages
Shoemaker & Hoard
(an imprint of Avalon Publishing Co.)
August 16, 2006
Biography, Classics, Poetry
(Note: I own this book, so I can attest
that the publisher listed on Amazon
is not the right one.)

Why do I love this cover?

This is a truly stunning cover!  The man portrayed here -- the great Italian poet, Dante -- is depicted sitting at a table, apparently comparing two books for accuracy of information, or perhaps to investigate two opposing views. 

Aside from the fact that Dante is a fascinating figure in his own right, I think that this portrait is also a perfect symbol of the quintessential bookworm -- someone who just can't get enough of books, even trying to read two at the same time!  The poet is obviously absorbed in his reading, totally oblivious to the world around him.  He's probably sitting at his desk, in his own private study.

I love the warm, cozy color scheme of this painting; the main color is burnt sienna.  This masterpiece was created by the Italian Renaissance artist, Luca Signorelli (see links below).  It's located at Cappella di San Brizio, Il Duomo, Orvieto, a city located in southwestern Umbria, Italy.  The cover photograph was taken by the author of this biography.

In addition to the color scheme, I also love how beautifully, as well as realistically, the two books have been painted.  I feel as if I could touch them, pick them up.  The one propped up on the desk seems to be a new book (at the time), while the one on the desk is obviously a much older one.

Although Dante is sitting at a desk, this composition is far from boring.  In fact, it's full of sharply opposing angles.  Dante is looking toward the right (his left, in the painting), and this movement is echoed by his right hand, while his left hand, which is resting on the older book, opposes that movement.   The whole line of his body leads the eye down to the hand resting on the older book, though.

The font used for the poet's name is a classical one, totally appropriate for the cover.  I like that the name is emphasized, too; the rest of the title is done in an italic font. 

Luca Signorelli Online

(The New York Times website)
(The New York Review of Books)

What do you think of my choice?
Leave a comment and let me know!


  1. I love this cover, Maria! Great pick. I could never resist this color scheme and the feeling of an aged cover :)

    1. Hey, Kara!

      I'm so glad you like my pick! Although, as you know, I have a thing for the color blue, there's something about burnt sienna that absolutely enchants me...and yes, I, too, love the feeling of an aged cover. In this case, I think it's there because the painting was unfortunately damaged at some point in time.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! :)

  2. Wow, this is truly a great choice Maria.

    I never knew much about Signorelli but I took a quick look at the Wikipedia article. I really need to learn about and spend more time looking at great art.

    Awesome analysis of the painting by the way. I think that Dante is doing some research here. Perhaps attempting to tie two concepts or facts together from a couple of different books.

    1. I'm so glad you love this cover, too!

      To be honest, I don't know much about Signorelli myself. I barely remember him from my Art History classes in college. Gotta do something about that...

      Thanks for complimenting my analysis of the painting! I really enjoy doing that sort of thing when I a cover every Saturday. That's why I will NEVER stop doing this meme, even if no one else participates in it!

      As always, thanks for visiting and commenting!! :)


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