It’s cold and snowy in many places throughout the world. So let’s think warm thoughts like warm summer sand and sandcastles. In fact, think hot. Burning hot, flames of hell hot, and mix that with sand. What do you get? Dante’s Inferno. What in hell is that? No, not the game. It is a sand sculpture opera based on the Italian classic masterpiece and produced by the City of Jesolo, Venice, Italy. Welcome to Hell and the sand demons of Dante’s Inferno in 49 photos.
Welcome to Hell
(image credits:Eternally Cool)
Jesolo Lido has a theme-based sand sculpture festival each year and last summer they asked a team of 18 professional sand sculpture artists to illustrate Dante’s Inferno. More specifically, the participating artists were asked to take their inspiration for verses 1-9 of Canto III of Inferno. Dante stands at the edge of the world of damned souls and reads:
Through me is the way into the woeful city; through me is the way into eternal woe; through me is the way among the lost people. Justice moved my lofty maker: the divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the primal Love made me. Before me were no things created, unless eternal, and I eternal last. Leave every hope, ye who enter!
The result was Hell, represented as scenes, mythological figures, and as some of the most famous characters from Dante’s Inferno.
In Jesolo Lido, there were 9 Circles to Dante’s Inferno. In the outer pre-circle after entering the exhibition, “Virgil and Dante Decend into Hell” and then meet “Charon the Ferryman.” Circle 1 was “Limbo.” The dogs were part of Circle 3, called “The Cerebrus.” Circle 2 is below:
The Lustful, The Gluttons, The Avaricious
“The Lustful” was from Circle 2 and is at the top left. The entrance to each circle was numbered in a fantastically “evil” sand sculpture like at the top right. Besides “The Cerebrus,” Circle 3 included “The Gluttons” and one can be seen in the lower right. The middle left was the introduction to Circle 4. It featured “The Avaricious” like in the bottom right.
River Styx & The City Of Dis
Circle 5 featured two different magnificent sandcastles. Following Dante’s Inferno, first there was “The River Styx” and then “The City Of Dis.” The amount of detail is unbelievable for sand sculptures. The show was designed and directed by Varano Sand Sculpture Co. LLC aka “the Sultans Of Sand Worldwide.” The Sultans Of Sand is a consortium of award winning international master sand sculptors who live and work all around the globe.
Circle 6 The Heretics
Circle 6 featured “The Heretics.” From the numbered 6 to introduce the Circle, you can see skill reflected in sand. The 18 hand-picked featured artists for Dante’s Inferno represented nine different countries and, together, hold more than six dozen international awards and titles. 2,000 tons of sand at the worksite were pre-compacted into carving blocks known as “pound-ups.” The pound-ups were prepared over a 10 day period prior to the the sculpting team’s arrival. The sand masters then carved all the sculptures in only 10 days.
Circle 7 began with a “Reaper” skeleton and then headed to “The Minotaur” at the top. Next stop in Dante’s Inferno was “The Harpies Taunting the Suicides” as seen in the middle images. Last but not least was “The Centaurs.”
Circle 8 was huge, starting with the great winged beast “Greyon the Guardian.” Next was “The Simonists” as seen in the lower right image next to the number 8. The carved sculptures were so detailed, that even the pores showed. Some things never change, not even from Dante’s time as the next stop in Dante’s Inferno was “The Corrupted Politicians.”
Circle 8 Continued
At the top, Circle 8 led to “Ulysses’ Shipwreck.” On the lower left is “When Hell Freezes.” The images on the lower right depict “Count Ugolino Gnawing the Head of the Archbishop.” These masters of sand carving even managed to make the sand-colored eyeballs appear realistic.
Circle 9: Satan, Leaving Hell
(image credits:WaZaR ,Htmarcos,skullbrain)
Circle 9 takes us past demons in the sand and stops in front of a massive 16-foot “Satan.” Look closely at the intricacy and texture on the beast and you can even see the devil’s pores! Pictured on the bottom left is “Leaving Hell.” That ends our tour of Dante’s Inferno. If you found these sand sculptures amazing, there is still plenty of time before July to book your trip Jesolo Lido, Italy, for the next thematic sand sculpture festival.