Dante Sculpture

Dante Sculpture

The Sculpture named ‘Dante Searching for Paradise’ has been gifted to the town of Midhurst by its creator Phillip Jackson.  This sculpture is scheduled for installation on 11th September 2024 at South Pond in Midhurst.  Further information and photos will be added in due course. 



DANTE Searching for Paradise, by Philip Jackson

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence, circa 1265, and died in exile in Ravenna in 1321. He had been involved in a movement that sought more freedom from Rome, and so perhaps it is not surprising that his later writings were in the Tuscan dialect, rather than the traditional Latin of his day. From this literary use of the vernacular grew the modern Italian language we know today.

Dante was a poet, writer and philosopher, best known for the Divine Comedy – one of the greatest poems of the Middle Ages – in which he describes a journey through Hell and Purgatory before reaching Paradise. He is accompanied first by Virgil and then by Beatrice. Symbolically, Virgil provided the wisdom and Beatrice (a woman Dante had known) the pure love necessary for such a journey. Jackson’s sculpture, entitled Dante Searching for Paradise, shows Dante reflecting on the open book, from which arise the small figures of Dante, Virgil and Beatrice.

Philip Jackson CVO DL MA FRBS was born in Scotland in 1944. His unique approach to sculpture “draws on a previous age, and renders it in an impressionistic but contemporary manner.” This sculpture of Dante is his gift to the people of Midhurst, the adopted home of Philip and his wife Jean.

Thanks go to The Midhurst Society, for their unstinting endeavours to make this gift possible, and to Midhurst Town Council, The Midhurst Society, and Friends of Ravenna, for their financial support of the planning process, groundworks and base.

P.S. Dante’s tomb is a famous landmark in Ravenna, where he had lived for many years. Ravenna is twinned with Chichester, and Midhurst is part of the District of Chichester. However, the main reason for this gift is that Philip is paying tribute to Dante’s influence on European art, religion, and language, and on his own studio figures, many of which are distinctly Italian in style.