Date of Award

Spring 2013

First Advisor

Linda Koch

Second Advisor

Santa Casciani


"The word “light” evokes both a literal and metaphorical translation. Light can be a shining brightness from a light source, the shade of a figure in a drawing or painting, or an element representing an idea which must be contemplated rather than seen in order to comprehend.1 I propose that within the artwork and poetry of Michelangelo Buonarroti, as well as within the poetry of Dante Alighieri, light is not only used for pictorial and lyrical purposes but is often a metaphor representing righteousness. Light also represents the journey of man to understand the supreme art of God.2 During the medieval period, there was a renewed interest in the Pseudo-Dionysius theology of a mystic whose belief was that God is an “incomprehensible and inaccessible light.”3 While the critics of both Dante and Michelangelo have studied the influence of Dante upon Michelangelo’s works, little research has been conducted on how the Florentine sculptor, painter and poet was influenced by the use of light found in the Divine Comedy.4"


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