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Alexander Tovborg | Purgatory Canto XXIX: Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Chariot

Purgatory, the second book of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, describes Dante ascending Mount Purgatory on his journey towards heaven. After Inferno (2017-18), a two-year printmaking tour de force that resulted in an extensive portfolio of 37 etchings, Tovborg depicts the encounter between Dante and his beloved Beatrice in a single, large-scale etching.

This radical change of format echoes the narrative structure of The Divine Comedy: after Dante’s voyage through the nine circles of Hell, Purgatory describes his upward journey on a mountain island, crossing the seven terraces of suffering and growth, corresponding to the seven deadly sins, culminating in Earthly Paradise at the top of the mountain.

The Griffin, a mythical creature half eagle, half lion, pulls Beatrice’s chariot in the 29th canto of Dante’s Purgatory. While working on the Purgatory print, Tovborg dedicated a second, smaller copper plate to the creature itself, zooming in on a detail of his large-scale etching.

Purgatory Canto XXIX: Beatrice Addressing Dante from the Chariot, 2023, spit bite aquatint
Alexander Tovborg working on one of the copper plates
Reviewing test prints

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