All things move, all things run, all things are rapidly changing. A profile is never motionless before our eyes, but it constantly appears and disappears. On account of the persistency of an image upon the retina, moving objects constantly multiply themselves; their form changes like rapid vibrations, in their mad career. Thus a running horse has not four legs, but twenty, and their movements are triangular. — Umberto Boccioni, ‘Futurist Painting: Technical Manifesto’ (1910)
Sandow Birk is an American visual artist who, among other things, has created a wondrous set of drawings and paintings updating Dante’s Divine Comedy to the modern age and setting it against the positively infernal/purgatorial/paradisiac landscapes/corner stores/vacant lots of California.
I first saw one of his works — a colossal painting of Purgatory as a teeming San Francisco hillside — while visiting an art gallery in middle school. Even though I wasn’t really familiar with Dante at the time, the painting stuck with me and years later I rediscovered Birk’s work while studying the Divine Comedy during my year abroad in Italy.
I strongly suggest checking out this guy’s website, where you can find lots of other interesting projects. One that I particularly like is “The Ninety-Nine Names of God” — done in collaboration with Elyse Pignolet — which shows the various airports involved in the 9/11 attacks, with the traditional names of God inscribed around the gates in elaborate calligraphy.
[Unfortunately, I don’t know which canto the above painting is meant to represent…]