Divine Comedy - Salvador Dalí
In the early 1950’s Salvador Dali was invited by the Italian government to commemorate the birth of Dante Alighieri, Italy’s most famous poet, by producing a series of illustrations for a full-text Deluxe edition of Dante’s masterpiece, the Divine Comedy. Ultimately, the illustrations were not well received by the Italians, as it was deemed inappropriate for a Spanish painter, rather than an Italian painter to have illustrated the work of Italy’s greatest poet. Even though the project was dropped in Italy, Dali and French publisher Joseph Foret continued to pursue the publication of the Divine Comedy. Joseph Foret introduced the project to Les Heures Claires, a French editing and publishing company, that ultimately took full charge of the project. After 55 months of patient and assiduous work started in April 1959, the edition was completed the 23rd of November 1963.
The suite contains incredible imagery ranging from the grotesque to the sublime, as our artist follows Dante from the deepest circles of Hell, up the mountain of Purgatory, and into heavenly Paradise. These works have been created by the technique of wood engraving: a total of 3,500 blocks of woods were carved, approximately 35 separate blocks per image. Dali himself thought this suite to be one of the most important of his career and it is considered by many today to be his most incredible and notable work.