Images used on this web page that are not part of the public domain or original creations of the webmistress are cited on-site, except for the following Saphically-selected art images, which are open for use from a multimedia project at the University of Texas at Austin called Danteworlds. Full details on permission of use of the Saphically-selected images from the PARADISO segment of Danteworlds is available on the Danteworlds project’s ‘Site Credits‘ page and are also stated, for immediate reference, below. The images were chosen based on their form, content, and themes, as they pertain to the Sapphic spirits of Headmistress Press and Hexmistress Jess.
The above image, “Fame Seekers in Mercury,” by John Flaxman is included on the Hexmistress Jess page because it represents the Sapphic Spirit’s rejection of artifice, vanity, and superficiality in favor of virtues that are of ‘the Divine Sapphic ideal’– which is Sapphic Love. Here, the spiritualist, connected to and uplifted by divine Love, operates for and according to the rules of merciful Justice, casting off the unvirtuous toward continued learning while simultaneously casting a spell of Sapphic virtue. Learn more about the image, and about giustizia (justice) in Paradise by visiting Mercury.
Also from the Mercury sphere of Paradiso is the above image, of Beatrice and Dante – by John Flaxman, featured on the Headmistress Press web page. This image is of the Sapphic student and teacher, both equal in relation to the divine although, perhaps, unequal in the earthly world. The image has a Socratic, almost lecturous, quality in that the Dantean figure on the right seems to be pontificating Sapphically, with arm and eyes raised, while the Beatrician figure on the left, eyes down-turned, seems to be humbled by Sapphically-spiritual learning. This captures the image of the Headmistress as a lecturer, in mythic origin; however the image points to something deeper and more extraordinary. There is a balance and equality in the image– the figures are dressed in similar apparel, both with laurel wreathes around their heads, and of similar height. Were it not for their slight expressions, the nature of the relationship would be rendered more ambiguous. In this realm of Mercury, and Paradiso, H. Press bears a kind of authority, embodied in the figure of Headmistress, whereas H. Jess seems submissive. However, it is the figure on the left, representing H. Jess who ultimately must lead and teach the divine lessons to the figure on the right, H. Press. This artistic paradox and reversal of roles, in the context of the Sapphic use of the image, is central.
The above image, “Eagle of Justice” by John Flaxman, is an important and fitting representation of Hexology and Hexuality Studies, theoretical and artistic creations out of the imagination of Hexmistress Jess in relation to Headmistress Press. It represents the flow of Sapphic consciousness between the figures, H. Press and H. Jess, who serve as spiritual guides for one another; but the image also suggests that collective consciousness is spiritual in nature. The image is a representation of Jupiter in Dante’s Paradise and of a linguistic/metaphysic advent in Sapphic Paradise. The nature of Hexology and Hexuality are justice-oriented; they arise out of an imagination that is plagued and blessed with realities of injustice– one that seeks restorative justice through divine creativity, in language and beyond. Hexology and Hexuality are substitutive linguistic apparatuses which perform a linguistic Sapphic “spell” aimed at achieving the divine justice of love and mercy: the spell in Latin is “diligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terram” (“cherish justice, you who judge the earth”). It is a divine command: the Sapphic definition of “spell.” Here, in the realm of Hex, both Hexmistress and Headmistress are students of Divine Sapphic Love, and the language invented within and between them is also a language derived from the source of divine Love beyond them.
The above image, titled “Charles Martel” by artist John Flaxman, represents the virtue of platonic esteem and platonic fellowship in divine learning and Sapphic schooling. It comes out of the realm (or sphere) of Venus, in Paradiso. The image is representative of the role of mentors and fellowship throughout the process of learning (learning being a Sapphic synonym for ‘living’). To be fully alive is to be engaged in a state of learning, and to be in a state of learning, one must embody the virtue of wonder– as to be ‘full of wonder’ is to be open, receptive, and vulnerable to the teachings of Virtue itself, flowing from Divine Sapphic Love. Hexmistress and Headmistress, made evident in this image, are together and united in the Sapphic act of fellowship with the world around them: with both ‘fellow and flower’, you might say (fellow, meaning sentient beings; flower, meaning non-sentient lifeforms). The image was chosen to represent Sapphic Projects because Love does not merely look inward at itself: it is simultaneously inward and outward, and, thus, it radiates.
Art and academics are the ‘As’ that define the mode through which the earthly and the divine encounter one another. They are also the categories I place on the equation of my social (s) justice (+j) activism (+a). A core theme here is the birth of ideas, and transference for divine justice, and there is a nod to Canto 11 (Journey of the Mind to God) and to the figure of the Seraphic Doctor (Bonaventure). The above image by John Flaxman, “Second Ring of Solar Spirits,” represents the connection between “Sapphic” and “Spherical,” lexically, aesthetically, visually, and spiritually, as if the two are two planes in the same multi-dimensional matrix of solar constellations, Spherically Sapphic and Sapphically Spherical. The figures in the image are surrounded but not insulated, by Spheres of Sapphic influence which include Sapphic arts, activisms, and academic pursuits. What is solar is spiritual– and the spirits are represented by stars, or sparks (that is, mighty flames), representing the divine commitment to Sapphic learning, which is spirited and spiritual learning. Learn more about the Seraphic Doctor and Joachim of Flora by looking to Danteworlds’ Sun.
The above image is titled “Rings Around a Point of Light,” created by John Flaxman. It was chosen for the Contact page because of its depiction of “The Primum Mobile,” which is described in Danteworlds this way:
“The Primum Mobile, the largest and swiftest sphere in Dante’s cosmology, is the physical origin of life, motion, and time in the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic universe. This heaven, the supreme physical heaven in the universe, is enclosed only by the Empyrean, the mind of God. Enkindled in the Empyrean are the love which turns the Primum Mobile and the virtue (or creative power) that the Primum Mobile pours down onto the lower spheres. Therefore the Primum Mobile–or “first moving” sphere–determines the natural operation of the universe, in which the earth is motionless at the center of the nine concentric, revolving heavens. As the physical source of motion, the Primum Mobile serves as the measure for the other spheres and is the basis for time (insofar as time is a function of motion) (Par. 27.106-20). In the Convivio Dante credits Ptolemy with positing the existence of this ninth sphere as a way to account for the slightly varying motion of the Fixed Stars (the eighth sphere) within the daily east to west revolution of the heavens around the earth (2.3.3-6). Identifiable only through its movement, the Primum Mobile is also called the Crystalline heaven because of its total transparency (Convivio 2.3.7).”
Finally, Sapphic Paradise, for which there is no web page and for which the source is belief –is Sapphic faith– itself. Here, notably in green, it is represented by Gustave Doré’s “White Rose.” Here, where physical laws do not apply; here, in the Sapphic Empyrean.
From the Danteworlds’ Site Credits Page:
Guy P. Raffa: project director and editor
Suloni Robertson: artist and graphic designer
Gary Dickerson: site designer and programmer
Mark Garrison, Esmeralda Moscatelli, Gianvi Figari: oral rendering of selected verses
Michael Heidenreich: audio recording and editing
Tara Wenger: library research
Carrie Wells and Jamie Ward: scans
music for the Inferno flash movie by Suloni Robertson;
recorded by Joe Robertson;
mixed by Gary Dickerson
In addition to students in his Dante classes, Professor Raffa gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following individuals to the conception of Danteworlds: Olin Bjork, Elissa Fineman, Dan Gutierrez, Coco Kishi, Laura Kramarsky, Helene Meyers, Stefan Smagula, and Joe TenBarge.
Liberal Arts ITS Development Grants; Special Research Grants
Brian Roberts – Associate Dean, Liberal Arts; Dina Sherzer – Chair, French and Italian; Daniela Bini – Chair, French and Italian; Joe TenBarge – Director, Liberal Arts ITS
Content Sources – Text
All commentary written by Guy P. Raffa.
Copyright © Guy P. Raffa 2002-2007. All rights reserved.
Content Sources – Images
Icon images created by Suloni Robertson from her own paintings.
Copyright © Suloni Robertson 2002-2004. All rights reserved.
Other images in the Danteworlds site are taken from the following works:
Blake: Illustrations to the Divine Comedy of Dante, by William Blake.
London: National Art-Collections Fund, 1922. Reproduction and use courtesy of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
Botticelli: Drawings by Sandro Botticelli for Dante’s Divina Commedia; reduced facsimiles after the originals in the Royal museum, Berlin, and in the Vatican library. London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1896.
Doré: Dante’s Inferno, Translated by the Rev. Henry Francis Cary, M. A., from the Original of Dante Alighieri, and Illustrated with the Designs of M. Gustave Doré. New York: P. F. Collier, 1885.
Doré: Purgatory and Paradise, translated by Henry Francis Cary, from the original of Dante Alighieri, and illustrated with the designs of Gustave Doré. New ed., with critical and explanatory notes. New York, P.F. Collier, [1892?].
Flaxman: Compositions of John Flaxman, Sculptor, R. A., from the Divine Poem of Dante Alighieri, Containing Hell, Purgatory and Paradise; engraved by Thomas Piroli. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1807.
Vellutello: Dante con l’espositioni di Christoforo Landino, et d’Alessandro Vellutello; unknown artist. Venice: Gio. Battista, & Gio. Bernardo Sessa, fratelli, 1596. Reproduction and use courtesy of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
Material on this site may be quoted or reproduced for educational purposes without prior permission, provided appropriate credit is given. Any commercial use of this material is prohibited without prior permission from Liberal Arts ITS and the project director. Copyright holders are listed above.