Mohammed Image Archive

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Dante's Inferno

In the Inferno section of Dante's trilogy The Divine Comedy, Mohammed is described as being one of the "Sowers of Discord," showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil in the Eighth Circle of Hell:

Inferno XXVIII, 19-42.

The poets are in the ninth
chasm of the eighth circle, that of the Sowers of
Discord, whose punishment is to be mutilated.
Mahomet shows his entrails to Dante and Virgil
while on the left stands his son Ali, his head cleft
from chin to forelock.

Several famous (and not-so-famous) artists have created their own illustrations of this scene. In each drawing, Mohammed is the one with his torso slit open.

This medieval drawing of Mohammed (on the right) showing his entrails to Dante and Virgil (on the left) is from one of the earliest surviving illustrated manuscripts of the Inferno, dating from the third quarter of the fourteenth century (1350-1375), and currently held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England. The artist is unknown; the manuscript is known as "MS. Holkham misc. 48," part of the Holkham manuscripts collection.
(Hat tip: Raafat.)

This image shows the full folio page from which the detail above was taken.

Gustave Doré's version of the scene is probably the most well-known.

William Blake's rendition of the "Sowers of Discord"; Mohammed is the bearded figure pulling open his torso. Watercolor; drawn 1824-7. The original is housed in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

In 1481, Botticelli created some illustrations for the earliest printed edition of the Inferno. This expansive scene shows all the "Sowers of Discord." Mohammed is the one near the upper center-left with his entrails hanging out.

The detail from the picture above shows Mohammed with his torso split open and his intestines trailing behind him, while to his left is Ali with his head cut in half.

A sketch of Mohammed split open, by Auguste Rodin.

Salvador Dalí created a surrealistic version of Mohammed's torment.

The 1911 Italian silent film L'Inferno contained a dramatization of the scene; Mohammed is here on the right with his entrails hanging out.
(Hat tip: Peter R.)

Political correctness has progressed so far that in March, 2006 when the Italian magazine Studi Cattolici published this very mild version of the scene -- that doesn't even depict Mohammed -- the editor was compelled to issue an apologetic explanation, and the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei (which is connected to the magazine) issued a statement distancing themselves from the cartoon. The word balloons are translated as:
Dante (wearing the cap, on the cliff edge): "Isn't that guy divided in half from head to butt Mohammed?"
Virgil (on the far right): "Yes, he is divided because he brought division to society!
While the other one there with his trousers down is Italian politics concerning Islam."
Extensive coverage can be found at Michelle Malkin, Atlas Shrugs, Washington Times, The Telegraph, and Associated Press.
(Hat tip: Killgore Trout.)

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Other Archive Sections:
Islamic Depictions of Mohammed in Full
Islamic Depictions of Mohammed with Face Hidden
European Medieval and Renaissance Images
Miscellaneous Mohammed Images
Dante's Inferno
Book Illustrations
Book Covers
Satirical Modern Cartoons
The Jyllands-Posten Cartoons
Recent Responses to the Controversy
Extreme Mohammed
Email Responses from Readers