The Barque of Dante

The Barque of Dante by Gyorgy Frangulyan, Venice
I wonder how many tourists travelling to, or from, Murano notice the bronze sculpture of two figures standing in a small boat, which is located in the water between the Fondamenta Nove and the island of San MicheleThe boat rests on a slightly submerged platform, which is designed to rock with the waves. One figure points with his outstretched arm, while turning to his companion. But who are they supposed to be?  
Barque of Dante, Venice
The sculpture is known as the Barque of Dante and is the creation of the Russian artist, Gyorgy Frangulayan. It recalls a scene from the Divine Comedy, in which Dante, on his journey into hell, is directed across the river Acheron, its waters heaving with tormented souls, by Virgil. 

In Frangulayan's barque, Virgil is leading Dante to Venice's island of the dead, the final resting place of three of the Russian's compatriots, Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev and Joseph Brodsky. 
Grave of Diaghilev, San Michele, Venice
The Barque of Dante was part of the 2007 Biennale, but when the exhibition came to an end it was decided that the sculpture should remain permanently in Venice.  


  1. This is another of your posts that I'll share on Facebook. I don't think many people notice the sculpture, nor think about what it represents!

  2. It has intrigued me for years and so I thought it was finally time to discover the story behind it.


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