Thursday, 10:55am
2 September 2010

Divine Noir

books received
Visual culture

From Hell to Heaven in Seymour Chwast’s graphic take on Dante

Seymour Chwast’s first graphic novel, published next week, sees the designer / illustrator tackle Dante Alighieri’s fourteenth century masterpiece the Divine Comedy. In this graphic re-telling of the medieval poem, Dante dons a Dick Tracy trench coat and fedora, while Virgil (his guide) sports a tuxedo, bowler hat and cane.

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The protagonists’ journey through Inferno, Purgatory and Heaven is transformed by Chwast into a feast of illustrative noir: ‘Capt Charon’ ferries the new dead over to the neon lights of hell in a speedboat, the ‘wanton women of Florence’ lounge about in cocktail dresses, and one sinner - Filippo Argenti - is shot down on the docks with a Tommy Gun (below).

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Dante’s Divine Comedy (Bloomsbury) adapted by Seymour Chwast. Published 7 September, 2010.

You can now read ‘Look away’, about Seymour Chwast’s special civil rights issue of Push Pin Graphic, on the Eye website.

Eye magazine is available from all good design bookshops and at the online Eye shop, where you can order subscriptions, single issues and back issues.

The summer issue, 76, out now, is a music special – full contents here, and you can see a selection of visual details on Eye Before You Buy on Issuu.

Student subscriptions are half price, see