BOTTICELLI, Sandro
(b. 1445, Firenze, d. 1510, Firenze)

Dante: Divina Commedia

1480s
Manuscript (Reg. lat. 1986), 320 x 470 mm
Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican

Dante imagined Hell as being an abyss with nine circles, which in turn divided into various rings. Botticelli's cross-section view of the underworld is drawn so finely and precisely that it is possible to trace the individual stops made by Dante and Virgil on their descent to the centre of the earth.

This coloured drawing on parchment shows the Abyss of Hell.