Dante and Virgil

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"Abandon every hope, you who enter."

Dante et Virgile, William Bouguereau , 1850, huile sur toile, Musée d'Orsay

"But neither the furies of Thebes, nor the Trojan, were ever seen toward any one so cruel, whether in goading beasts or human limbs, as I saw two shades pallid and naked who, biting, were running in the way that a boar does when from the sty he breaks loose. One came at Capocchio, and on the nape of his neck struck his teeth, so that dragging him he made his belly scratch along the solid bottom. And the Aretine, who remained trembling, said to me, "That goblin is Gianni Schicchi, and rabid he goes thus maltreating others." "Oh," said I to him, "so may time other not fix his teeth on thee, let it not weary thee to tell who it is ere it start hence."
Canto XXX, Inferno, Divine Comedy, Dante 

If you're looking for pink desserts and cloying romance tales, pass your way. Or as the Hell's gate reads : "Abandon every hope you who enter."

     You might be familiar with Bouguereau through Academic art- this seemingly overblown style. I personally respect Academic art, even though I don't like all of it as it sometimes simply doesn't appeal to my feelings and senses (I'm a Rubenist at heart, yay!), and I think it best to have a closer look at the historical and artistical context before deeming a painter boring and insincere. This little gem though is something entirely different from his typical oeuvre. 
         Dante et Virgile is one of my favourite paintings. Every time I go to the Musée d'Orsay I don't fail to head directly to the rooms at the right of the sculpture main aisle to have a look at the lurid painting and this one as well (actually they've not been on display for quite some time now and may I add : where the hell have they gone?). I'm not really being fair here : due to its monumental composition, you need to see the painting with your own two eyes to get an idea of the, well, Dantesque effect.
       Under a blazing bood red sky and the crackling of fascinating, unpredicatble flames, follow Dante's descent through the nine circles of Hell, each escalating in savagery, sinners enduring an eternity of ruthless chastisement . As you reach the tenth pouch of the eighth circle,  benevolently guided by the dead poet Virgil, your cloak sweeping the ashes, witness the violence that is presented to you in subdued light : two men mangling each other, Gianni's mouth fastened into Capocchio's neck, his knee slammed into his back, his talon-like fingers clawing his opponent's ribs. Those unreal, flawless anatomies exhibiting so much terribilità à la Michelangelo. 
          How do you react? Repelled? Fascinated? Will you look away?
And what could possibly Dante be looking at that is more terrifying than what is in front of you?

Pain, agony. Such a macabre and powerful painting! It's a shame Bouguereau didn't paint more in this vein, isn't it?

May I venture to say  this painting is somewhat sensual?
My favourite detail? Gianni's curvature with the protruding backbone which could be the one of some unreal beast.
I've just noticed this detail : see the woman in the background leaning on a man? Well she looks like Francesca in Ary Scheffer's Les ombres de Francesca da Rimini et de Paolo Malatesta apparaissent à Dante et à Virgile. Bouguereau cannot have depicted Francesca da Rimini in this painting though because she's in the first circle of Hell.
Want to see a detailed photo of Bouguereau's painting? Go there.

Bonus : you get three recipes! They're all grain-free, sugar-free, raw and one-serving : because sometimes I don't want to share.

(I am currently camera-less so forgive the phone pictures and the recent lack of posts)

Do not omit the hazelnut oil! Because a) you'll get to smell it (if you haven't smelled hazelnut oil for the sake of it, you should start right now!) b) as there's no sugar, it would be a tad bland without the fragrant oil.

Coconut avocado cream
(vegan, raw, grain-free)
(yield : for one)

1 medium avocado (100 g)
1/4 to 1/2 lime, juiced
3 g hazelnut oil
15 g unsweetened shredded coconut

In a blender (I used a coffee grinder because of the small quantities), blend the avocado with the lime juice and hazelnut oil. Spoon 1/3 of the mixture in a small glass, top with shredded coconut and repeat twice. I like drizzling with more lime juice on top so the shredded coconut isn't too dry.

Crème d'avocat à la noix de coco
(végétalien, cru, sans céréales)
(pour  une personne)

1 avocat moyen (100 g)
le jus d'1/4 à 1/2 citron vert
3 g huile de noisette
15 g noix de coco rapée (non sucrée)

Dans un blender (vu les petites quantité, j 'ai utilisé un moulin à épices), mixer l'avocat avec le jus de citron vert et l'huile de noisette. Dans un petit bol, mettre 1/3 du mélange, recouvrir de noix de coco et recommencer deux fois. Je verse un peu de jus de citron vert en plus sur le dessus pour éviter que la noix de coco ne soit trop sèche.

I've eaten  mostly raw since the beginning of the year and I'm happy with plain fruit but sometimes I fancy a little more elaborate dessert (that does not involve 500 g of nuts). This one is an apfelstrudel without the bread crumbs. Or the dough. Um.

Apfelstrudel salad

(vegan, grain-free, raw if you use fruit juice instead of rum)
(yield : for one)

20 g raisins
3-4 cl dark rum
1 apple (I used Braeburn)
2-3 cl freshly squeezed lemon juice
ground cinnamon, to taste
8 walnuts

Start by soaking the raisins in rum. In the meantime, slice the apple and roughly chop the walnuts . In a small bowl, toss the apple slices with lemon juice so they do not brown. Add the cinnamon, chopped walnuts, soaked raisins and rum (if some remains) and mix well.

Salade Apfelstrudel
(végétalien, sans céréales, cru si vous utilisez du jus de fruit au lieu du rhum)
20 g raisins secs
3-4 cl rhum brun
1 pomme (j'ai utilisé une Braeburn)
2-3 cl jus de citron frais
cannelle en poudre
8 noix

Commencer par tremper les raisins secs dans le rhum. Pendant ce temps, couper la pomme en lamelles et concasser grossièrement les noix. Dans un petit bol, mélanger les lamelles des pommes avec le jus de citron pour qu'elles ne brunissent pas. Ajouter la cannelle (selon votre goût), les noix et les raisins (ainsi que le rhum s'il en reste) et bien mélanger.

I used frozen cucumber juice cubes that I had left from making Pimm's popsicles this summer. As they're not in season, either sub with another vegetable juice or water.

The Green Pint
(vegan, raw, grain-free)
(yield : 1 pint)

1 banana, frozen
1 cm piece of ginger
1 small handful of Savoy cabbage
1 small handful of spinach
2 celery stalks, juiced
1 medium cucumber, juiced
10 g hemp hearts 


La Pinte Verte

(végétalien, cru, sans céréales)
(1 pinte)

1 banane, congelée
1 cm de gingembre
1 petite poignée de chou frisé
1 petite poignée d'épinards
le jus de 2 côtes de céleri-branche
le jus d'1 concombre 
10 g de graines de chanvres décortiquées

7 commentaires:

  1. Lovely ! J'aime ce format de billet, à l'introduction toujours un poil dramatique, c'est toujours un moment à part quand je te lis ! J'aime aussi toutes tes recettes. Ma pinte verte du moment, c'est à peu près pareil, sans le jus, avec de la pomme, du jus d'orange et de citron en plus (et un petit cube de curcuma, des graines de lin au lieu de chanvre, parfois de la vanille). Le pudding viride m'appète particulièrement...

    1. Oh merci Hélène ☺️ je mets au curcuma pour augmenter ma température corporelle. Malheureusement je n'en trouve pas de frais. Haaa quelqu'un qui utilise un nom d'une teinte de vert. Je te vénère ! 😉

  2. Han en effet elle ressemble a Francesca! Il faut que finisse de le lire! Tu as lu les autres aussi ?

    1. Ouais j'ai vu ça d'un coup! Je vais sûrement le purgatoire. Ma prof d'italien m'a dit que le Paradis était extrêmement dur plus dire à lire que l'Enfer alors t'imagines... Si je trouve une version simplifiée. T'as vu les Illustrations que Gustave Doré a fait aussi! J'adore (moins que ce tableau quand même)!

    2. Ce tableau est tellement... breath taking! La version en anglais que j'ai d'Inferno n'est pas trop dire à lire. Je pourrais pas te dire quelle version c'est. Et vu que j'ai la flemme de me lever...

    3. Ben je l'ai lu en italien... du XIVe s quoi... J'imagine qu'il y a des versions plus simples. Je vais checker. J'ai téléchargé A rebours!

  3. Show off.
    Faut que je le relise. Je suis pas sûre que le bus 390 d'Archway à Oxford Circus était l'endroit le plus propice!



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