Dante and Virgil is an 1850 oil on canvas painting by William-Adolphe Bouguereau. It is presently on display at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The painting depicts a scene from the Divine Comedy which is Dante and Virgil looking on as two damned souls are entwined in combat. One of the souls is an alchemist and heretic named Capocchio. In this depiction Capocchio is being bitten on the neck by Gianni Schicchi who had used fraud to claim another man’s inheritance.
Alichino is one of the devils in the Inferno of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Alichino is a member of the Malebranche, whose mission is to guard Bolgia Five in the Eighth Circle, the Malebolge. Alichino’s name is commonly regarded as a garbled version of the Italian word for harlequin, Arlecchino, perhaps for his flying attempt to catch Bonturo Dati in his escape (see picture). His most, and only, significant contribution to the plot is when he persuades the other devils to leave Bonturo Dati alone. Bonturo is supposed to summon other sinners from the lake of boiling pitch (that don’t dare to appear when the devils are near), on request by Dante (who wants to speak with them). But Bonturo doesn’t call at his friends. Instead, he fools the devils and escapes back to the lake, and Alichino tries in vain to catch him. This causes a fight between Alichino and Calcabrina, which causes them to fall into the lake. The other devils put the blame on Virgil and Dante, though and hunt them vexed.
The following strophes depict when Bonturo fools the devils:
“If you desire either to see or hear,” The terror-stricken recommenced thereon, “Tuscans or Lombards, I will make them come.
Joseph Anton Koch’s frescos of Dante’s Inferno (1825-28) decorate the Sala Dante in the Casino Massimo, a Roman Villa. Several scenes from the poem are illustrated here, including Dante and Virgil’s ride on the monster Geryon (upper right) and Count Ugolino gnawing on the head of Archbishop Ruggieri (bottom left).