This is the eighth large-scale charcoal drawing in my England’s Dark Dreaming series.
In Dante’s Divine Comedy Antenora is the second zone of Cocytus (the ninth and lowest circle of hell) reserved for traitors to their country. The drawing is based on Gustave Doré’s engraving for Canto XXXII of the Divine Comedy , showing Dante and Virgil standing on the surface of a frozen lake where traitors are buried up to their necks in the ice.
This was drawn in a climate where the more extreme right-wing press have been using inflammatory language, describing their opponents as “enemies of the people” (Daily Mail front page, Nov 4, 2016), “saboteurs” (Daily Mail front page, Apr 19, 2017), and “traitors” (Daily Mail front page, Dec 14, 2017). This violent vocabulary is mirrored across social media.
That deliberately divisive language would be used by the character in the previous drawing, The Glorification of Ignorance, but this drawing is less violent and more somber, a reflection on what these words actually mean.