Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dante Costumes

Yet again, in the spirit of Halloween, I’ve decided to think of ways that one might dress up as a character from Dante’s inferno. How funny it would be if our class dressed up as the characters in Dante’s Inferno? I smell more bonus points….. For example, Kincy could dress as a soothsayer in the 8th circle by flipping all of her hair over her face and tying a mask to the back of her head. Samantha could dress as a tree and tie a fake body to her arm. Miranda could dress as Cerberus by dressing as a dog and attaching two fake dog heads to both of her shoulders. Brooke could dress as Medusa by braiding her hair into multiple braids and attaching snake heads to each braid and surround her self with winning furies. Amy could dress as Minos, Ian as a centaur with his bow and arrow, Joey as the Minotaur, and I as Malacoda. Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet could be Dante and Virgil. Thanks to Google, I discovered that I am not the only one who thought about this… (someone could also dress as Shakira aka shewolf)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Paganism in The Vatican? How Scandalous.

While looking through my photos of Raphael's rooms, I found some interesting connections between Catholicism and Paganism. In this first fresco, Raphael blatantly expresses the power of Catholicism over the previously idolized Pagan gods.
 You can see in the photo above how the Pagan idol has been replaced by Christ. 
The above photo(s) is the bottom fresco of The Study of Athens. Since Rome (and it's gods) pretty much made up the foundation for the coming of Christ, it seems only fitting they would somehow be incorporated into artwork. (Plus, if you're Raphael and Michelangelo, who's really going to question your work?) 
"Raphael's Room" 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Duomo

Since we talked about Brunelleschi's Basilica di Santa Maria Fiore (Saint Mary of the Flower, or more commonly known as the Duomo), I thought I'd share some photos I took this past summer. (If you click on the photos, it will enlarge them.)
 You can definitely see the Ottoman influence here. The color scheme (green, white, pink) is unlike most European basilicas, and the shape is very geometric ("star-shaped," pointed, or squarish) like many mosques. 
I know Mrs. Quinet said the basilica is small compared to St. Peter's (which is true), but from the typical human eye-level it's still incredibly massive. 
Ghiberti's "Gate's of Paradise" 
As I said in class, Michelangelo stated that when he died he hoped he'd see those gates in Heaven. That's one heck of a compliment! These doors are absolutely beautiful, you could see their radiance from many feet away. It was incredibly difficult to even take this photo. You can really appreciate Ghiberti's talent by these bronze "reliefs."
 This is the inside of the basilica. I have to admit that I was truly shocked when I walked inside. From the external architecture I was convinced the inside would be just as ornate. However, as you can see, the inside shows the transition from gothic to renaissance architecture. 
One of the frescos on the ceiling of the dome. The rest of the basilica is relatively plain except for a few frescos here and there.

This basilica reminds me a lot of Basilica di San Domenico in Siena. For those of you who aren't familiar with Siena, it's a relatively large Italian city. It's the focus of the famous italian festival "Palio di Siena" depicted in Under The Tuscan Sun (a fantastic movie which I highly recommend seeing). It's most known for the horse race that takes place in the main plaza, but here's the kick - the race is done backwards. Yep, the horses race clockwise. Anyway, here's some pictures of the basilica that I thought resembled the Duomo. Externally the basilica is similar, but less gothic and more ottoman and renaissance. The inside, however, it VASTLY different from the Duomo. It's more ornate, for one, and much more influenced by Ottoman and Renaissance ideals. The style of frescos changed as well. The cathedral is much darker - something even I have never seen before. 
 This is Palio di Siena (the plaza I was talking about). The reason the street rises from the middle is due to the horse races; it makes it much more treacherous (and exciting) for the riders to be racing at a slant and bareback. 

A Modern Traditional Comedy

MTV's Awkward 

I'm not even joking when I say that when I was watching an Awkward marathon the other day (in honor of the new season eep), I literally had a moment when I was like "Oh em gee, Awkward is such a comedy." And I mean comedy as in Dante comedy, not like ha-ha comedy. This happened. I'm still a bit freaked out that it did.
How does this modern, witty, sometimes ridiculous teen television show reflect the characteristics of a "comedy"(as seen in The Divine Comedy) might you ask? Let's take this step by step.
According to the Norton Anthology, a comedy encompasses four main characteristics. 
1) Narrative Structure: A comedy begins in misery and ends in happiness. For those of you who aren't familiar with this glorious television masterpiece, Jenna Hamiton, the protagonist, starts out as her high school's outcast. She has two friends, is falsely accused of attempting suicide (hence the broken arm), and is madly in love with the school's most popular guy Matty, though he doesn't know she exists. Epitome of misery. Now, flash-forward two seasons. Jenna is now in a relationship with Matty, by most accounts has climbed the social ladder, and her arm is healed. BAM- misery to happiness.
2) Style: Comedies contain a range of style, which is also true for Awkward. Much of the insight we receive from Jenna comes from her constant blogging. Not to mention, her best friend Tamara presents an entirely unique style of talking. Style-covered.
3) Character: A comedy deals with a wide range of characters. If you've seen a single episode of this show, you know this is true. Awkward characters range from members of an "Asian Mafia" to a non-traditional evil cheerleader ("You're Welcome"). 
4) Subject Matter: Comedy deals with people's private lives, as opposed to events of grand historical importance. The entire show is centered around Jenna Hamilton's journey through high school.

Moral of the post is, traditional comedies still exist today, but they're just a bit modernized. Other moral of the post is, Humanities has inhabited most parts of my brain. I'm not complaining.
I don't think this show will be winning any Emmys anytime soon, though it should in my opinion. However, it's refreshingly witty and often hysterical.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Idea Lab and the Inferno

Towards the end of this week, I saw the deadline for the Inferno approaching and my already long, jumbled list of ideas not getting any shorter. None of  these ideas, however, were remotely close to actually being a basis for my circle. Megan suggested that I should go to Mr. Mason to see if "idea thinking" could help. Mr. Mason, Megan, and I sat around the table writing down all the different ideas for sins onto post it notes. Then, we put the notes all over the wall and organized them into different categories like religion, politics, rudeness, and pet peeves. Soon it was obvious that most of my notes fell into the category of "people who judge others." From that point, it was much easier to come up with rest. Mr. Mason really helped me organize my thoughts and I think I may start making a stop to the Idea Lab to brainstorm for other papers in the future.

Francesca da Rimini... Again

Yet another rendition of Dante's Inferno in classical music is Sergei Rachmaninoff's opera Francesca da Rimini (1906), which I mentioned in my earlier post on Tchaikovsky.  Although I've mentioned Rachmaninoff a number of times, I have not yet given any bio or context, so here it is.  Rachmaninoff was born in Novgorod in 1873 to a formerly wealthy family (like most Russian composers at the time) that sent him off to the St. Petersburg Conservatory.  Here is probably a good place to note that the conflict I mentioned in an earlier post between Tchaikovsky and "The Five" was also a conflict between the Moscow Conservatory, where Tchaikovsky taught, and the St. Petersburg Conservatory, in which city The Five lived and/or taught.  Luckily for us, Rachmaninoff failed out of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and was transferred to the Moscow Conservatory at the age of 12.  Studying there for the next seven years (he graduated a year early), he became friends with composers such as Tchaikovsky, with whom he had a particularly close relationship.  At Rachmaninoff's presentation of his first published pieces in Tchaikovsky's composition class, when he was only 14, Tchaikovsky apparently gave him the equivalent of an A+++++++++ (he literally covered the sheet with plusses), and his early compositions are basically indistinguishable from Tchaikovsky's except for his use of huge block chords, which Rachmaninoff liked because of his enormous hands.  Anyway, in terms of Francesca da Rimini Tchaikovsky brought Rachmaninoff up in an operatic style he pioneered in which, rather than having the action split up into very distinct scenes with different styles to represent different moods ("Number Opera"), Tchaikovsky would focus more on stylistic unity and write to represent a single idea or emotion throughout, with the actual plot reflected in changing moods and lyrics over a common set of motifs.  If you remember Isle of the Dead, it clearly shows this influence, as even as it represents the dead souls moving through states of despair and elation, there is a constantly ominous, foreboding feel represented in the "oars" motif.  All three of Rachmaninoff's operas, of which Francesca is the last, were written in his early years, while he was still writing in the shadow of Tchaikovsky's influence.  Here's a recording of the opera:

The opera begins with Virgil showing Dante Francesca and Paolo, then goes into the story of their discovery by Gianciotto, after which it returns to Virgil, who faints out of pity.  It is unusual, but very like Tchaikovsky's operas, in that it is divided into a prologue, two tableaux, and an epilogue rather than the traditional format of acts.  It is essentially a story told in scenes to illustrate the two lines that really form the basis of the work: in our translation, "There is no greater pain/ than to remember, in our present grief,/past happiness" (V 121-123).  Again, this is a huge romanticization of Dante's original intention, in that it celebrates their love and Dante's pity rather than divine justice. 

Dante's Inferno in Legos..

I don't think y'all are ready for this. Romanian artist Mihai Mihu spent SEVEN months recreating the nine circles of Hell from the Divine Comedy. He used almost 40,000 legos. Essentially, I now idealize him. 
Here's some of my favorites. 
Circle IV (Prodigal and Miserly)

Circle V (Innocent) 
Circle VII (Violence) 

Circle VIII (Fraudulence) 

All of these pieces represent modern interpretations of The Divine Comedy, as opposed to the visual art pieces we looked at from Blake, Dore, ect. I think it also proves the timelessness of The Divine Comedy, and literature in general, just like we see from Sam's post about iDante. I think it's amazing how contemporary artists draw inspiration from artist from previous generations, like how Mihu is representing Dante's work through modern techniques (lego building). It makes me wonder if students of the future will be interpreting Mihu's collection in regards to Dante's work, just as we've done with Dore and Blake. It's funny to think that is a couple hundred years legos will be a thing of the past and contemporary to them will be like holograms or something cooler. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dali's Illustrations

While I was looking at some of the other posts, I noticed one of Salvador Dali's illustrations over the post. Since Dali is one of my favorite artists, I could not help adding some more of his pictures. I think his pictures are really weird, but that just makes them more interesting. Also, he has one of the greatest mustaches I've ever seen. There are, of course, a lot more than the ones I've shown, but I couldn't possibly put them all; they are definitely worth looking up, though.

The Neglectful
L'ange dechu


Dante's Divine Comedy has been turned into an iPhone/iPad app! The app can display the entire reading (English or the original Italian) along with 500 of Gustave Dore's illustrations that compliment the different scenes of the reading. The app also includes a full 3D model of Dante's visions of hell, purgatory and heaven. I downloaded the app on my phone last night and played around with it for a little bit. My image of Dante's Hell completely changed. The app really helped me further understand/picture the landscape and layout of the different circles of hell that we have so diligently studied. Look at the below link to get a better understanding of the app.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Possible Excessive "Justice"

There are some things that really bother me about Ugolino's situation. He's in the 9th Circle of Hell, specifically Antenora, because he betrayed his country. Straight-forward and understandable. However, something that I think Dante frequently disregards is that most things having to do with humanity aren't always straight-forward. For example, say Ugolino betrayed his country because he was desperate for money to feed his family. Maybe that's not a great example, but you get my point. Dante never looks at the reasons people commit the sins that they do. Look at Francesca and Paulo. As Amy mentioned during her presentation, Francesca was forced into her marriage with her husband, which probably affected her decision to cheat on him with Paulo. Like I said, the reasons people do what they do are almost never simple. 
Another major thing that bothers me about Ugolino's situation is the extent to which he suffers. I understand Dante is all about proving 'Divine Justice.' However, I personally thing that Ugolino paid for his sin of betraying his country before he even entered Hell. I mean the man was locked in a tower and starved. He also had to watch his SONS and GRANDCHILDREN starve and DIE because of his own sin. And as if that isn't enough, his survival instincts took him over, causing him to eat their dead bodies. And as if THAT isn't enough, now he's forced to spend eternity in the depths of Hell. 
I'm not saying that what Ugolino did wasn't worthy of punishment. We don't really know how Ugolino's actions affected his country and to what extent. However, based on what Dante wrote, I'm a bit skeptical as to whether what Ugolino did actually warranted what he got. If he betrayed his country because he was simply a greedy traitor, then I see why he ended up in Hell. However, we don't know enough about Ugolino or the situation to determine why he did what he did, which I think is quite an important factor in determining a man's fate. 
Call it pity, but on some level I think watching your sons and grandsons die because of your sin is enough "justice." 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Inferno and Liszt

Another notable composer inspired by Dante's Inferno was Franz Liszt (1811-1886), a Hungarian virtuoso pianist and composer probably best known for his 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies, especially number 2 (listen to it; you've probably heard it before), and his transcriptions for piano of all of Beethoven's symphonies.  Although during his life he was known mostly as a concert pianist, he composed many works of his own and today his orchestral pieces are considered landmarks in the development of modern music.  Much more than Tchaikovsky, he was very influential on the next generation of composers, sponsoring people like Brahms, Dvorak and Smetana in their early careers.  As mentioned in my previous post, he invented the form of the symphonic poem.  Among his orchestral works is the Symphony to Dante's Divine Comedy (1856), a highly programmatic symphony in two movements, Inferno and Purgatorio (most symphonies have four) that follows Dante the pilgrim's journey to the underworld.  Here's the first movement:

This piece is very closely structured around the actual story, so I'll go through it piece by piece.  The first section, up to around 3:10 on this recording, describes the gates of hell in foreboding bass chords.  Beethoven's influence is obvious; the style throughout is that of Beethoven's later symphonies and he directly quotes him at, among other places 4:55 (from the 9th symphony).  The theme in the brass at 6:40 and several other places represents the words "lasciate ogne speranza voi ch'entrate", which are written below the trumpet part; it is played between most sections as a dramatic symbol of the loss of hope as Dante and Virgil journey deeper into Hell.  At 7:16, they enter the second circle, where the woodwind and harp parts represent the wind buffeting about the damned.  At 13:25, we get another rendition of Francesca and Paolo in the form of a duet between two violins--the score is marked "2 violinen ohne dämpfer", or "2 unmuted violins", while the rest are muted--which again romanticizes the sufferings of the damned (and definitely shows some pity for them).  The passage is marked in the score Andante amoroso which translates as "lovingly slow".  Of course, Liszt is a Romantic composer and he wasn't writing this piece in order to convey the same message Dante intended.  At 17:00, they descend to the next circle of hell, where the previous themes representing the sufferings of the damned are mockingly recited again, representing the taunts of the demons.  This is a device Liszt borrowed from Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, which has a scene in which a coven of witches do much the same thing to the Dies Irae and other motifs of the piece.  As with Berlioz's Dies Irae, the themes build past the parodies to a terrifying climax, finally resolving in a very unconventional ending that jumps schizophrenically between keys.  Compared to the Tchaikovsky, this interpretation is closer to Dante's actual text, but it's still very romanticized and anything but didactic.  I think it does a very good job conjuring the mood of the Inferno, even if it misses the lessons, which was really probably Liszt's goal.

Inferno and Tchaikovsky

Among the many artists influenced by Dante's Inferno was the Russian composer Pyotr Illych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), best known for his 6 symphonies and many symphonic poems (a nebulous form of music invented by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt that usually consists of a single orchestral movement portraying an idea or event).  His best-known works are probably the symphonic poem Marche Slave, the 1812 Overture, and the ballet The Nutcracker.  Tchaikovsky was also a huge early influence on (and composition teacher of) Sergei Rachmaninoff, who we've already met; in fact, when Rachmaninoff wrote his opera Francesca da Rimini after Tchaikovsky's death he had Pyotr's brother Modeste write the libretto (story). Anyway, like many Romantics (as Ms. King mentioned) he saw the story of Francesca and Paolo as just the sort of emotional story that they loved to portray, although viewing it as such probably goes against Dante's original intentions.  He wrote the symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini portraying the brief affair and subsequent punishment:

He wrote the piece fairly early in his career, in 1876 during a trip to Germany where he saw Der Ring des Nibelungen.  Tchaikovsky had a highly individual and emotional style, and he eventually came to detest Wagner's nationalism (there's a bit more to this story: Tchaikovsky's primary professional rivals in Russia were a very nationalist group of composers known as the "Mighty Handful", consisting of some of my favorite composers: Mily Balakirev, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Modeste Mussorgsky, César Cui, and Alexander Borodin; naturally he tried to create an opposing style).  Accordingly, he chose a topic that he viewed as a sort of Romantic ideal rather than the heroic, nationalist themes of Wagner.  In the piece itself, you initially hear what I think is Francesca's despair at having to marry Gianciotto, followed by her affair with Paolo, and finally near the end a whirling theme representing their punishment in the Inferno.  You can definitely see how the story is romanticized past what Dante would have intended. 

Inspired by Dante *Jaw Drops*

Yet again, I find that another one of my favorite childhood series have been inspired in some way by works we've read in Humanities. This time it's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Beatrice Baudelaire is the mother of the three main characters Violet, Klaus, and Sunny. Lemony met Beatrice when he was 11 and she was 10. She was engaged to Lemony Snicket. However, she broke off the engagement to marry Violet, Klaus, and Sunny's father instead. She and her husband die young, making Count Olaf their children's guardian. Lemony Snicket narrates the entire series and often talks about his love, Beatrice Baudelaire. 
TURNS OUT LEMONY'S BEATRICE BAUDELAIRE WAS INSPIRED BY DANTE'S BEATRICE PORTINARI. This makes so much sense. As I mentioned, Beatrice B. and Lemony met when they were children. Lemony was madly in love with her, but she chose another man over him. Then she dies young. This is exactly like Beatrice and Dante. 
Finding allusions to pieces of literature in other pieces of literature honestly never gets old. 


Here's a video I found about The Divine Comedy. It's actually hilarious. It summarizes a lot of the Inferno, but it skips Cantos 4-31, which is unfortunate. But how they portray Virgil makes up for it.

Palacio Barolo inspired by Dante's Inferno

Palacio Barolo Argentina
The Palacio Barolo in Argentina, designed by Marcio Palanti, is based on the structure and content of Dante's Divine Comedy. It used to be South America's tallest building. One of the largest monuments inspired by Dante, the palace is one of the few buildings that attempts to incorporate Dante into its architecture. The palace was built when Dante fanatic Luis Barolo hired Marcio Palanti to design the building because he believed that Europe had begun drifting towards a collapse. He wanted the ashes of his hero, Dante, to be housed in the safe palace. Marcio Palanti was also a big fan of Dante and excitedly agreed to design the palace in honor of Dante. The building is one hundred meters high, which corresponds to the one hundred cantos of Dante’s work. The overall design structure is based on the number most prevalent in the Divine Comedy: twenty two. The building’s twenty two floors reflect the number of stanzas in the epic poem. The palace also illustrates the visitors journey through hell, purgatory and paradise as visitors climb their way to the top. Furthermore,the nine access points within the building represent the nine circles of Hell. The still working lighthouse represents the nine angelic choirs. The coolest part of the building, I think, is the Southern Cross constellation on top of the lighthouse. It aligns with the actual constellation on July 9th, Argentine Independence Day.

Prezi Presentation

I enjoyed seeing everyones presentations on their different topics. My favorite artist, overall, was Dore. I especially liked his depiction of The Gates of Hell that Miranda showed us. I agree with what Ms. Quinet said: it looked very much like a deserted wasteland. I felt despair when I looked at the engraving, which I think is difficult for an artist to invoke in his audience. As I kept saying in class, I also love the way he so vividly separates the foreground, middle-ground, and background in his engravings. Dore does a superb job playing with light in his engravings; a main characteristic of his engravings his darkened foreground and light backgrounds. I enjoyed Blake's artwork, too. It was colorful and, like Brooke stated, created a more lighthearted atmosphere than most of the other artworks we analyzed.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Although I didn’t include him in my presentation, here are some Alessandro Vellutello’s illustrations of The Divine Comedy. Like Miranda, after researching for this project, I discovered that I liked a lot of his other illustrations. Here is his version of the Dark Wood before the three beast, created in 1544-
Below is his illustration of the lustful, notice that he marks Dante and Virgil with a D and a V- 
Here is his version of the gluttons, at the top notice Cerberus- 

Illustrations in Literature

After researching art pieces for our Dante presentation, I found that I really liked Gustave Doré's work. So I thought I'd share a few of the pieces (unrelated to Dante's Inferno) that captured my interest. 

So a little background info. 
Born in 1832, Paul Gustave Doré is a renowned French artist, engraver, illustrator, and sculptor. He published his first illustrated story at the age of fifteen. From then on, he worked on commissions to depict scenes of famous novels, such as Ravelais, Balzac, Milton, and Dante. 

Some of his most famous works:
Jacob wrestling with the Angel (1855) (weeping angel?)

Depiction of Satan (from Paradise Lost, 1866)

Don Quixote (one of my personal favorites)

Little Red Riding Hood

Death on the Pale Horse (Bible illustration)


Doré's illustrations are by far the most fluid and mystical I have ever seen. You can practically feel the movement in each - especially in Andromeda, with the waves crashing around her legs, as she attempts to escape from her bonds. In the illustration of Satan, you can see he's wearing a "traditional" angel's garb, but his wings have become blackened by his fall, and small horns have sprouted upon his head. His expression is almost one of wistfulness, perhaps of his longing to return to Heaven and continue his undying love for God. The illustration of Don Quixote, though, is probably my favorite. He's sits in his chair, full of pride over his endeavors, while his imagination fills the background. As I am one to daydream of a more courageous and imaginative alter-ego of myself, I can most definitely relate to him - just maybe not as schizophrenic or deluded. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Minos: King of Crete, Son of Zeus and Europa

In Greek mythology, a dispute over the ruling of Crete led Minos to consult Poseidon for guidance. He asked the god to send an offering as a sign of his true kingship, so Poseidon sent a gleaming white bull from within the crashing waves. When Minos refused to sacrifice the bull to Poseidon, he sent Pasiphae (Minos's wife) into an uncontrollable lust for it. In order to mate with it she requested the help of Daedalus, who built a hollow wooden cow. Pasiphae hid inside, and when the bull mounted the cow she conceived its child - the Minotaur (Minotauros, "the bull of Minos"). 

King Minos then ordered Daedalus to construct a palace to hide the Minotaur, so he created the Labyrinth. As Daedalus meddled with it, Minos imprisoned him and his son, Icarus, inside a tower. In order to escape Daedalus created huge wings from wax and feathers - and we all know how that one ended.

When King Minos's son, Androgeos, was killed after victoriously leading the games in Athens, Minos attacked Athens to avenge his son's death. After securing control of the city Minos granted peace to Athens, but on one condition: every nine years Athens must send seven of their finest young men and women maidens to Crete as a sacrifice to the Minotaur (sound suspiciously like The Hunger Games?). It would not be until the hero Theseus volunteered that the Minotaur would be killed and the Athenians saved. 

Since Daedalus had escaped (without poor Icarus), Minos traveled from city to city asking a riddle. He presented a spiral seashell and asked for it to be strung all the way through. When he reached Camicus, Sicily, King Cocalus fetched Daedalus to solve the riddle. Daedalus then tied a string to an ant, which walked through the seashell, stringing it all the way through. Minos knew Daedalus was in King Cocalus's court, and demanded he be handed over. Cocalus managed to convince him to take a bath first, then his daughters and Daedalus scalded him to death with boiling water. 

And so in death Minos became the judge of souls.

Art of Charon

I was going to include this image in my presentation tomorrow, but I decided to just post it on the blog. This is a modern virtual representation of Dante's Inferno in a video game. The video game is much more violent of course, but seems to include the many of the characters. In this picture Dante is being ferried across a river by Charon (the purple head in the background). One of Dante's missions in the game is to cut off Charon's head in order to reach the next level (so maybe the game isn't so accurate.) The makers of the video game did a study to show that 85% of kids have actually heard about Dante's Inferno (but not necessarily have read it). Their marketing slogan for the game is that it is "educational"!

Dante, Beatrice, and Their Epic Love Story

La Vita Nuova, or The New Life, was written by Dante in 1295 about his love for Beatrice. I did some research on Dante and Beatrice, mainly because I'm a hopeless romantic. Also, I'm attempting to stop criticizing Dante. In a way, the history of Beatrice and Dante kind of humanizes Dante for me. Here we see a completely different side of Dante (a not at all self-righteous one).
So Dante first saw Beatrice when she was eight and he was nine. According to all accounts, it was love at first sight for him, but he never got the chance to talk to her. So, like any lovestruck adolescent, he basically attempted to stalk her, but their paths never crossed. Nine years later, Dante recognized her on a street in Florence and she greeted him. Dante wrote this about her acknowledgement of him: 

"When so many days had passed that exactly nine years were completed since the appearance of this most gracious being I have written of above, it happened, on the last of these days, that this marvellous lady appeared to me, dressed in the whitest of white, between two gracious ladies who were of greater age: and passing through a street she turned her eyes to the place where I stood greatly fearful, and, with her ineffable courtesy, that is now rewarded in a greater sphere, she greeted me so virtuously, so much so that I saw then to the very end of grace. The hour at which her so sweet greeting welcomed me was exactly the ninth of that day, and because it was the first time that her words deigned to come to my ears, I found such sweetness that I left the crowd as if intoxicated, and I returned to the solitude of my own room, and fell to thinking of this most gracious one (La Vita Nuova III)."

This is the famous painting by Henry Holiday of the first time Beatrice greeting Dante.

Unfortunately, that was the last time BeDante (or Deatrice) saw each other. As if that isn't sad enough, Beatrice died at 24, and Dante married Gemma di Manetto Donati in an arranged marriage set up by their families. Sadly for Gemma, Dante never mentioned her in any of his works. However, after his encounter with Beatrice, Dante had a dream about Beatrice, which ended up being his inspiration and plot for La Vita Nuova. Most importantly, Beatrice eventually came to be the metaphor Dante used as a search for God, and his way of reaching the Divine. She essentially "removed all evils" from him.

In La Vita Nuova XLII, Dante writes:

"After writing this sonetto a miraculous vision appeared to me, in which I saw things which made me decide to write nothing more of this blessed one until such time as I could treat of her more worthily.
    And to achieve this I study as much as I can, as she truly knows. So that, if it pleases Him by whom all things live, that my life lasts a few years, I hope to write of her what has never been written of any woman.
    And then may it be pleasing to Him who is the Lord of courtesy, that my soul might go to see the glory of its lady, that is of that blessed Beatrice, who gloriously gazes on the face of Him qui est per omnia secula benedictus: who is blessed throughout all the ages."