Robert Rauschenberg

Thirty-Four Illustrations for Dante’s Inferno



ISBN: 9781633450295 Category:

Kevin Young


Published to accompany a major traveling exhibition, this small volume presents the 34 drawings Rauschenberg made for each canto of Dante’s Inferno.

Between 1958 and 1960, Robert Rauschenberg made drawings for each of the thirtyfour cantos, or sections, of Dante’s fourteenth-century poem Inferno by using a novel technique to transfer photographic reproductions from magazines or newspapers onto paper. Acquired by The Museum of Modern Art soon after it was completed, the resulting work is his most sustained exercise in the medium of drawing and a testament to Rauschenberg’s desire to bring his experience of the contemporary world into his art. The drawings weave together meditations on public and private spheres, politics and inner life. Above all, they pay homage to creativity in dialogue: each drawing is a conversation with Dante across the centuries. This volume includes newly commissioned poems by Robin Coste Lewis and Kevin Young that offer contemporary responses to Rauschenberg’s celebrated series and an essay by MoMA curator Leah Dickerman that explores its making in depth.

Additional information

Weight 462 g
Dimensions 20.8 x 25.4 cm
Publisher name The Museum of Modern Art
Publication date 1 December 2017
Number of pages 104
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Introduction by Leah Dickerman, Contributions by Robin Coste Lewis
Dimensions 20.8 x 25.4 cm
Weight 462 g


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Leah Dickerman is The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Kevin Young is Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the poetry editor at The New Yorker. He is the author of eleven books of poetry and prose, most recently Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015 (2016), which was long-listed for the National Book Award.

Robin Coste Lewis is a Provost's Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California and the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (2015), winner of the National Book Award for Poetry.