The Abyss of Hell Sandro Botticelli Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The Abyss of Hell is one of the most famous artworks from Botticelli's Divine Comedy series of sketches

This artist took the rare step of choosing to provide illustrations for a manuscript, something famous artists at that time would consider beneath them. He would produce nearly on hundred drawings to accompany the "poems" of Dante's Divine Comedy.

Each work was labelled a Canto, which in Italian translates as an individual song. Within the manuscript each drawing would sit alongside the relevant article in a double page spread.

It was this series of work which helped to raise the artist's profile as a draughtsman, having already established his name within the painting medium. The vast majority of his remaining drawings are from this series, with just a few study sketches for final frescos left.

The Abyss of Hell by Sandro Botticelli is essentially a map of the various depths of Hell leading up to Earth. Dante described it as a cave, created when Lucifer was thrown out of Heaven by God. It is beautiful to see classic literature visually represented by one of the finest Renaissance artists, but sadly this was a rare event.