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Antaeus Setting Down Dante and Virgil in the Last Circle of hell
pen and watercolour (NGV 27)
Felton Bequest, 1920
National Gallery of Victoria

Inferno XXXI, 112-43. After their encounter with Ephialtes the poets go further on and come upon Antaeus who was invincible as long as he remained in contact with the earth, but who was finally conquered by Hercules. Virgil asks Antaeus to set the poets down in the last circle. Here Blake parallels Dante's imagery of the Carisenda, one of the leaning towers in Bologna, as seen when a cloud is going over it, and also the imagery of a ship's mast in his rigid right arm.

(c)1999 National Gallery of Victoria