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The death mask, as its name suggests, seems to be a copy of Dante’s face, made after his death and better known as the funeral mask.
According to tradition, it seems to have been sculpted later from the effigy on Dante’s tomb, whose remains are in Ravenna. Some more recent studies, however, seem to affirm with all probability that it was sculpted in the late 1400s by Pietro and Tullio Lombardo…that is, 150 years after Dante’s death!
After having passed from hand to hand, the mask is now on display at Palazzo Vecchio, where it has become a symbol both of Dante’s political contribution to the city of Florence and of his role of fundamental importance in the development of Italian literature and culture, as well as of metrics and poetic-literary style.