Following Dante’s journey through darkness and depravity, hope returns with Purgatorio, and a master-crafted design that inverts the logic of Inferno. This time, the story begins at the blind cap, where he is marked with seven symbols of Peccatum (sin). As Dante ascends each terrace, an angel’s wing brushes a letter P from his forehead – depicted in fine relief beneath hand-enamelled detailing.
As before, the context for this release is the 700th anniversary of the death of Italy’s greatest literary figure. Dante Alighieri died in Ravenna in 1321, and this year has seen countless museums and galleries around the world celebrate the visionary genius of Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Just as the volumes of the Divine Comedy segue neatly together, so the design of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio continues the principles established by the preceding edition. On our Inferno design, the circles of hell descend from the cap top. By contrast, Purgatorio shows the terraces of Mount Purgatory ascending from the blind cap. This inverse relationship reflects a medieval belief that the impact of Lucifer’s fall from heaven created hell, displacing rock to form Mount Purgatory.
Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio is built on identical design principles to its predecessor, but features even higher levels of artistry. Once again, the intricate, precious-metal outer structure has been created with lost wax casting, and fitted around a specially blended Elysian Montegrappite core.
A softer colour palette reflects the more hopeful mood of Dante’s Purgatorio. Hand-enamelled filling again adds lush colours to a cloisonné cap top (a representation of the Garden of Eden), and highlights the transitions found on barrel and cap.
The levels that make up the body reflect the classical seven deadly sins, and Dante’s seven terraces of purgatory: Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Avarice, Gluttony and Lust. A small difference from Inferno is the addition of plaques in Italian (front) as well as English (back). Each enamel ring features a unique relief comprising the letter ‘P’ (peccatum = sin). Its changing frequency represents the progressive cleansing of Dante’s soul as he ascends the mountain.
The centrepiece of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio is a miraculous, 2-layer clip cast from gold vermeil and sterling silver . This ornate motif refers to the silver and gold keys that open Peter’s Gate, the entrance to Mount Purgatory. It symbolises, in effect, a desire for self-improvement.
Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio is made in editions of 333 fountain pens and rollerballs, while an 18K gold edition comprises 9 examples in each mode. As before, editions reference the extraordinary numerical patterns and 3-part structure of the Divine Comedy. Fountain pens are piston-fed, with a custom 18K gold nib (EF, F, M, B, BB, Stub 1.1) engraved with Dante’s profile, and ebonite feed.