As the first ceramic picture, this panel was the only one produced in the Karlsruher Majolikamanufaktur (Karlsruhe majolica manufacture), after this picture had been fired Markus Lüpertz and the company parted ways. The remaining 13 ceramics were then made in Zell am Harmersbach.
Like some other panels, this pottery refers to Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy”, which the author wrote between 1307 and 1321. Here Markus Lüpertz reproduced the scene in which Dante and his guide, the Roman poet Virgil, cross the underworld river Styx in a boat belonging to the ferryman Charon. Lüpertz does without narrative accessories: the mighty barge dominates the picture, the muddy-brown ferryman on the left edge of the picture, Virgil, who courageously pushes a damned man back into the river, and Dante, who looks into the chaos, are the focus. They are on their way to the hellish city of Dis, inhabited by thousands of people who have sinned badly. This is represented by the chaos colored in red and blue; the red coloring can also be read as an indication of the approaching hell fire.
Text & translation: © Chris Gerbing, 2023
For a first orientation, you will find here an overview of the 365-day-”Genesis” gallery, which can be reached by underground almost 24 hours a day.