The Italian artist’s exhibition ‘Infernus’ runs at Vicenza’s Basilica Palladiana until 31 August

Italian artist and violinist Leonardo Frigo has been transforming stringed instruments into pieces of visual art for the past decade. For his latest project, ‘Infernus’, Frigo pays homage to the works of Dante Alighieri: 33 violins and a cello, each decorated with images inspired by one canto from Dante’s Inferno. The project, which took Frigo four years to complete, marks the 700th anniversary of Dante’s death in 1321. 

’At the age of six, my mother gave me an illustrated book of the Divine Comedy,’ he said. ’At 12 I realised that Dante hadn’t really been to Hell, Purgatory or Heaven. Four years ago I thought about this project with the intention of completing it in 2021 for the anniversary.’

All 34 instruments can be seen in an exhibition at the Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza, Italy, until 31 August. Frigo was born in the region, although he has been based in London for the past few years. ’Although I didn’t speak a word of English at the time, I felt that London was perfect for bringing Dante and Italian culture to the world,’ he commented. ’London is fine, but I have remained tied to my roots in Asiago.’

A selection of Frigo’s decorated instruments were on display at Stradfest, The Strad’s one-day festival in 2019. 

Read: Inaugural Stradfest takes place with diverse programme of events

Read: The special art of decorated instruments

View: The decorated Stradivari instruments of the Royal Palace of Madrid