Commentary Purg XI 82-87

Oderisi deflects Dante's compliment, thus showing that his pride is at least greatly abated (if not utterly vanquished -- see verse 84).  What is at stake here is artistic merit, not the cry of the vulgar, a subject that will be before us within ten lines.  What Oderisi can now admit is that, as good as he was at illuminating, in his own opinion Franco of Bologna was superior to him in his craftsmanship -- a truth that he knew but never would have permitted himself to admit during his emulous life on earth.  It is interesting that Benvenuto da Imola (DDP Benvenuto.Purg.XI.82-88) says that, from the examples he has seen, Franco really was a better illuminator.  By being willing to share the honor with Franco (this is exactly the burden of [Purg XIV 86-87], the words of Guido del Duca: 'O race of men, why do you set your hearts / on things that of necessity cannot be shared?'), Oderisi shows himself now different from the man bent on his own excelling to the cost of all others.

      Little is known of Franco, who apparently lived until about 1310.  His work was the subject of an exhibition in Bologna in 2000.