You are on page 1of 10

Mohammed Image Archive

(return to main Archive page)

Dante's Inferno

In the Inferno section of Dante's trilogy The Divine Comedy, Mohammed is described as being one of the "Sowers of Discord," showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil in the Eighth Circle of Hell: Inferno XXVIII, 19-42. The poets are in the ninth chasm of the eighth circle, that of the Sowers of Discord, whose punishment is to be mutilated. Mahomet shows his entrails to Dante and Virgil while on the left stands his son Ali, his head cleft from chin to forelock. Several famous (and not-so-famous) artists have created their own illustrations of this scene. In each drawing, Mohammed is the one with his torso slit open.

This medieval drawing of Mohammed (on the right) showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil (on the left) is from one of the earliest surviving illustrated manuscripts of the Inferno, dating from the third quarter of the fourteenth century (1350-1375), and currently held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. The artist is unknown; the manuscript is known as "MS. Holkham misc. 48," part of the Holkham manuscripts collection.

(Hat tip: Raafat.)

This image shows the full folio page from which the detail above was taken.

Gustave Dor's version of the scene is probably the most well-known. The image is an illustration taken from an 1885 French edition of Dante's Divine Comedy. The original engraving is in the Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris.

Detail of Gustave Dor's Mohammed, from the picture above.

William Blake's rendition of the "Sowers of Discord"; Mohammed is the bearded gure pulling open his torso. Watercolor; drawn 1824-7. The original is housed in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

In 1481, Botticelli created some illustrations for the earliest printed edition of the Inferno. This expansive scene shows all the "Sowers of Discord." Mohammed is the one near the upper center-left with his entrails hanging out.

The detail from the picture above shows Mohammed with his torso split open and his intestines trailing behind him, while to his left is Ali with his head cut in half.

A sketch of Mohammed split open, by Auguste Rodin.

Salvador Dal created a surrealistic version of Mohammed's torment.

Contemporary Spanish artist Miquel Barcel illustrated a 2003 Spanish edition of the Inferno which featured this painting of Mohammed with his entrails exposed.
(Hat tip: Andrs M.)

The 1911 Italian silent lm L'Inferno contained a dramatization of the scene; Mohammed is here on the right with his entrails hanging out.
(Hat tip: Peter R.)

Political correctness has progressed so far that in March, 2006 when the Italian magazine Studi Cattolici published this very mild version of the scene -- that doesn't even depict Mohammed -- the editor was compelled to issue an apologetic explanation, and the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei (which is connected to the magazine) issued a statement distancing themselves from the cartoon. The word balloons are translated as: Dante (wearing the cap, on the cli edge): "Isn't that guy divided in half from head to butt Mohammed?" Virgil (on the far right): "Yes, he is divided because he brought division to society! While the other one there with his trousers down is Italian politics concerning Islam." Extensive coverage can be found at Michelle Malkin, Atlas Shrugs, Washington Times, The Telegraph, and Associated Press.
(Hat tip: Killgore Trout.)

Click here to return to the main Mohammed Image Archive page Other Archive Sections: Islamic Depictions of Mohammed in Full Islamic Depictions of Mohammed with Face Hidden European Medieval and Renaissance Images Miscellaneous Mohammed Images Dante's Inferno Book Illustrations Book Covers Satirical Modern Cartoons The Jyllands-Posten Cartoons Recent Responses to the Controversy Extreme Mohammed Email Responses from Readers