Menu Close


The half-tone reproduction of a water-colour by William Blake is in portrait orientation and is an illustration of a scene in Dante’s Inferno. The image shows the classical Giant, Anteus in Hell, leaning backwards in an impossibly balanced posture on one toe, with one hand on a high rocky outcropping, reaching down to set a figure (Dante) down on a small ledge (the Verge of Cocytus) below, where another figure (Virgil) stands waiting. The naked giant fills the upper centre of the picture plane. In the foreground and the bottom left corner, the small rocky ledge appears just visible within the frame, extending out to almost the halfway point of the image width. Atop the small ledge stands a man facing to the right of the page and visible in profile, wearing a long robe, with his arms extended out in front, reaching toward the man being set down by the Giant (Dante). He appears resting in the gigantic hand of Antaeus. In the bottom right corner the tall rocky outcropping begins, extending to a third of the image width and nearly the entirety of its height. The outcropping has vertical lines drawn to show pieces of rock that are shifted out of line with the structure. Halfway up the height of the outcropping a stream of mist or cloud extends to the left of the page before looping up and back to the right side, leaving a semi-circle of cloud around the exterior of Giant. In the distance between the two rocky ledges lies a barren surface of land, with cracks delineating the flatness. The gigantic man takes up the rest of the space on the upper page. He has his left foot rested on the high rocky outcropping, with his right foot hanging off of the edge closest to the viewer. The rest of his body is leaned back horizontal to the ground. The man’s upper body is twisted to extend his right arm down to hold the figure below. His chest faces the viewer and his left arm clings to a piece of rock on the top edge of the high outcropping. His head is turned to face down below him, and he has a crease between his eyebrows. He has slightly downturned lips, and his nose is scrunched up. He has short wavy hair. He is extremely muscular a. The sky behind the scene is dark, almost black and the semi-circle cloud cuts through with its light colouring. In the bottom right corner is the text: “HELL [caps] Canto 31”