Dante Drawings (1958–60)

This is a series of transfer drawings that illustrates the thirty-four cantos of Dante’s Inferno. Using John Ciardi’s translation of the poem, Rauschenberg worked with Dante scholar Michael Sonnabend to develop one composition for each of the thirty-four cantos. Combining his own drawings and watercolors with images transferred with a chemical solvent from glossy magazine reproductions, Rauschenberg provided a contemporary context for Dante’s poem by including such popular figures as John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson.