| Quote #4
“Te lucis ante” issued from his lips
As the first of many songs, this hymn represents the best social use of art (in Dante’s perspective): the espousal of Christianity and praise of God. Translated from the Latin, this hymn reads, “Before the light of You,” although it’s often glossed as “Before the ending of the day.” In it, the singers ask God to protect them from any evil or tempting dreams, essentially guarding them against even the most unconscious kinds of sin. Because this hymn comes from the lips of the Late-Repentant, it could be a plea of continued vigilance.
| Quote #5
There we had yet to let our feet advance
Purgatory often uses the visual arts as means of impressing its moral lessons on its penitents. Here, on the first terrace of the Prideful, carved right into the cliff side, sculptures abound that show images of Gentle souls – counterexamples to pride. The “angel […] with the decree of that peace” is Gabriel and the “one of turned the key that had unlocked the highest love” is the Virgin Mary accepting the Annunciation from God. The fleeting reference to nature in the first lines reinforces the idea of Nature (through God) as an artist. And the fact that these sculptures “did not seem to be […] silent image[s]” reveals just how incredible an artist God is in his ability to make lifeless stone seem alive.
| Quote #6
“Oh,” I cried out, “are you not Oderisi,
When Dante meets a famous artist, the renowned illuminator immediately shows how deeply he has absorbed his lessons here in Purgatory. Instead of smugly acknowledging his fame, Oderisi humbly deflects the remark, claiming his colleague Franco Bolognese paints better than he. He is perhaps an exemplar that Dante strives to be, because, as a fellow artist, Dante has not yet purged himself of pride.