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Salvador Dali


The Divine Comedy
Dante's Literary Classic as Imagined and Illustrated by Salvador Dali


The Inferno

Salvador Dali Divine Comedy

To view all
33 Woodblock Engravings

Salvador Dali Divine Comedy

To view all
33 Woodblock Engravings

In the early 1950s, shortly before the septecentennial of Dante's birth, Dali was invited by the Italian government to produce a series of illustrations for a deluxe edition of The Divine Comedy to be published by La Libreria dello Stato in Rome. Between 1951 and 1960 Dali created a series of 101 watercolors for the book, which was unhappily never completely realized in its textural form.

The watercolors were exhibited at the Palazzo Pallavici in Rome. However, the reception of Dali's project in Italy was extremely negative, since it did not seem appropriate for a Spanish (rather than Italian) painter, much less an irreverent Surrealist and sometime fascist sympathizer, to illustrate a commemorative edition of the greatest Italian poet's masterpiece to be published by the State Press.

Although the project was dropped in Italy, Dali strove to see its completion. In the late 1950s Dali met the French publisher, Joseph Foret, who had issue Dali's series of lithographs for Cervantes's Don Quixote in 1957-1958. After viewing a group of the watercolors for The Divine Comedy at Dali's studio, Foret enthusiastically set out to find support for the creation of The Divine Comedy.

He took it to the well known French editors and book publishers Les Heures Claires where he received equally enthusiastic support for the project. The directors of Les Heures Claires than immediately took full charge of the project; Mr. Riviere, the Financial Director, Mr. Blainon, the Marketing and Sales Director, and Mr. Jean Estrade, the Artistic Director. It was Mr. Estrade's responsibility to work directly with Dali and the engravers to create the works.

The engraver, Raymond Jacquet with his assistant, Mr. Tarrico, created the wood blocks necessary to transfer Dali's watercolors to wood engravings, a medium chosen because of its ability to recreate subtle washes of color and delicate linear drawing.

In Dali's case anywhere from twenty to as many as thirty-seven separate blocks were needed to reproduce the watercolors. Although in the 1970s and 1980s Dali's forays into printmaking were often embedded in controversy, due mostly to the undocumented and seemingly unlimited printing of some of his images, this series of prints was strictly controlled, and the approximately 3000 woodblocks used to create them were destroyed after the printing. Furthermore, it is clear that Dali's interests in such a project were literary, artistic and spiritual, rather than financial.

(Excerpts from Eleanor M. Hight "Dali and Dante: The Quest for Life's Meaning")


The wood engravings from The Divine Comedy that we offer were all personally pencil signed by Dali. This is rather rare - making them highly desirable. Dali signed all the prints in the first 100 books of the tirage. Then only another 100-200 other sets of the illustrations were also pencil signed. CFM's come with proper paperwork and an authentication by Albert Field and/or Jean Estrade. We have been a great source for authentic Dali's since the mid-90's and pride ourselves on our pristine collection.


Exquisite technique coupled with artistic vision defines our user-friendly presentation of figurative fine art paintings, sculptures and original graphics. Contemporary symbolism at its apex in the traditions of Bosch, the Italian Renaissance, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, the Viennese and German Secession and the symbolist movements with an edge of surrealism.