Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech (Figueres 11th May 1904 - Figueres 23rd gennaio 1989).
A versatile genius, the most original and brilliant interpreter of Surrealism, he left an important evidence of himself, not only as a painter and sculptor, but also an illustrator.
In 1950, on occasion of the 700th anniversary Dante Alighieri’ s birth, the Italian government commissioned Salvador Dalì to illustrate the greatest masterpiece of Italian literature: “The Divine Comedy”.
Dante in this way meets Dalì in one hundred watercolor woodcuts to illustrate the most famous manuscript by Dante Alighieri, that fantastic journey from the depths of the Hell to the splendor of Paradise passing through the purifying Purgatory; the result is a unique masterpiece suspended between dream and reality.
The three books Hell, Purgatory and Paradise are differentiated by three differently colored areas, designed to symbolize the path taken by Dante in his most famous masterpiece. The books are divided into thirty-three poems that, with the initial introduction to the book, form a total of one hundred poems.
Each Dalì’s woodcut represents a character or an event corresponding to each poem placed on the corresponding Dante’s books.
Figuration is often irreverent, ironic and grotesque in the representation of Hell and Purgatory; very delicate and heavenly are those of Dante and Beatrice in Paradise; the elegance of the sign is combined with a masterful and innovative use of color, in which the artist's pictorial research finds expression in the originality, freshness and genius of the inspiration.
In the illustrations Dali tells the Dante’s work through a surreal and dreamlike perspective, perfectly camouflaging in Dante's symbolic universe, the characterizing signs of his poetics: like desolate landscapes and flabby figures.
Dalì manages to maintain the dreamy Dante’s atmosphere by adding his personal touch through his characteristic symbols: flabby figures, crutches and flying bones. The supernatural mixes with a bold exploration of spirituality thus creating a unique vision of the Divine Comedy.
The journey through the Dantesque world has been interpreted by Salvador Dalì with the most relevant topics of his metaphysical and mystical research, representing in an excellent way the high humanity of the Divine Comedy with an inevitable psychoanalytic gaze that explores the unconscious of the contemporary man, lost and confused like Dante at the beginning of the 1300s.
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