Today I will continue with my Salvador Dali fascination.
Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is an epic poem, that is accepted world wide as one of the greatest masterpieces of art. It comes as no surprise that in 1950 another great artist, Salvador Dali, would have been asked by the Italian government to produce a series of illustrations for a full-text, deluxe edition of the Divine Comedy. Ultimately, the illustrations were not well received by the Italians, as it was deemed inappropriate for a Spanish painter (rather than Italian painter) to have illustrated the masterpiece of Italy’s greatest poet.
Even though the project was dropped in Italy, Dali and French publisher Joseph Foret continued to pursue publication of The Divine Comedy. Mr. Foret acted as a broker between salvador Dali and Les Heures Claires, a French editing and publishing house that ultimately took full charge of the project. Jean Estrade, the Artistic Director, worked closely with expert engravers to create the works under Dali’s supervision. Wood engraving was the medium chosen due to its ability to recreate subtle washes and delicate lines.
The Divine Comedy suite consists of 100 color wood engravings created between 1960 and 1964 after 100 watercolors painted between 1951 and 1960. Mr. Raymond Jacquet and his assistant Mr. Tarrico created the engravings with the participation and final approval by Dali. More than 3 000 blocks were necessary to complete the engraving process.
Once the project was complete, all the Divine Comedy blocks were distorted. the engraving process required the block to be cut, a single color applied, than printed to the substrate (e.g. paper, silk, etc.). The block was then cleaned and cut away for the next color. As the engravings were made, the image was progressively “printed”, and the block was progressively distorted. The process required great skill and resulted in works of spectacular beauty which can not be reproduced in a manner that is not detectable as a reproduction, even to the casual observer.
So here is the actual illustrations of the engravings grouped in 3 chapters: Inferno – Purgatory – Paradise
Source of illustrations: http://www.rogallery.com/Dali_Salvador/divine_comedy/sdalihm-hell.htm