What do you think is going on in this Bouguereau painting?

This is the one I’m talking about.

Is he trying to say that Dante didn’t have a clue how horrible Hell was (notwithstanding his ‘work’ on the subject)? I find it a bizarre painting, very, very different from most of Bouguereau’s work (shown here). Maybe it was just a reflection of his youth (he painted it at age 25 and it seems to be one of his earliest, “mature”, works). It’s so out of keeping with the rest of his stuff.

What do you think? (I’m just a dilettante, so anything you say will impress me).

I think it would be the reverse. Virgil would have believed in Hades which, while dull, wasn’t “Hellish” by the modern standard. Dante is showing Virgil how poorly the Greeks understood what Hell was all about.

Probably the men fighting in the front are meant to represent the ancient Greek heroes. Greek writing had a strong pro-warrior/pro-war stance. This painting is showing how that’s just brutality.

It’s Dante and Virgil in the 5th circle watching two of the wrathful fight each other while a demon looks on, and in the background more of the wrathful fight while the sullen are stuck in the swamp.

Yeah, I’m not sure what the OP is on about – that looks pretty Dante-esque to me.

I did, however, find a painting of Dr. Evil’s grandmother.

Just a side comment. I remember seeing a Bouguereau called “The Crab,” which was a girl playing with… well… a crab. I was about ten, I think, and it’s the only time I’ve had a crush on a girl in a painting. I wanted to step into the painting and marry the girl.

Except that in the Inferno, Virgil was Dante’s guide, not the other way round. I’m not sure in the painting if Virgil is meant to be looking surprised, or just blocking out the smell with his toga.

Here you go, Bricker.

Hard to say. More likely it is simply an illustration based on the book. I was just pointing out that the opposite intent as the OP stated would be more likely, IF there was some sort of point being made.

That’s it!

She’s a bit young for me now.

Or, in another sense, she was a bit old for me even then, since she was over a hundred when I first saw her.

She has enormous feet.

I think he’s saying that Hell is full of sexy gay wrestlers.


Yeah, my first reaction was that. Also they kind of skeeve me out.

The picture’s kind of amazing. It looks almost like a digital photograph.

It does seem rather homoerotic - and much of that genre had an erotic element male or female -
but there is a suggestion here that they are the Damned

It’s Bourguereau trying to titillate his bourgeois French audience with a populist version of the Academie de Beaux-arts style, putting out traditional superficially “classical” themes with a lot of skin, as he often does (cf. his Nymphs)
O, I do hate him.
I don’t mind the crab, though.

She’s a Hobbit!

More on topic, I like most of his work (or at least his style of painting), but the pic in the OP is a bit over the top for me. Maybe the one guy is a vampire? This predates Twilight, but you never know… heh.

From Canto VII.