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Vanni Fucci 'Making Figs' Against God   1824-27
pen, ink and watercolour (NGV 20)
Felton Bequest, 1920
National Gallery of Victoria

Inferno XXV, 1-15. Vanni Fucci had been bitten by a serpent, instantly transformed into ashes, and then, like the phoenix, reconstituted into his former shape. This was his punishment for robbing the treasury of San Jacopo in the Church of San Zeno, Pistoia, in 1293. Here Vanni Fucci blasphemes against God with an obscene gesture. The flames rain down on him from the dark cloud above and serpents renew their attacks on him.

(c)1999 National Gallery of Victoria