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  • Writer's pictureRobert Brinkerhoff

Inferno XXXI: The Rhythm of Tedium

Inferno XXXI: The Giants Ink on paper, 2021 22 x 15” In one of the most awe-inspiring scenes of L'Inferno, an encounter with a brood of giants standing hip deep in an enormous hole surprises our hero. First thought to be a cluster of towers on the horizon, these enormous creatures are a prelude to the 9th circle of hell. * * * As I was drawing this picture, certain words came to mind and I jotted them down on paper towels normally used for blotting ink.

Tedium. Resentment. Rhythm.

Dante mistakes for buildings a cluster of giants standing up to their waists in a hole that leads to the very core of Hell—rock bottom. The first giant they encounter is Nimrod, who bears a horn around his neck and cannot speak in an intelligible tongue. A great-grandson of Noah, he ordered the construction of the Tower of Babel (hence his incomprehensible speech), which angered God.

This drawing may not look like much but it is fabricated from thousands of tiny lines, the execution of which was at once tedious, calming, meditative, rhythmic and resentfully wrought. I've always thought that there is something metaphorical in my process, and that toil, repetition, and other aspects of the work are directly correlated to the very essence of Dante's story and its invention.. It's an admittedly medieval, monastic way of thinking and working, but it lends meaning to creative process.

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