This exhibition features an exquisite group of Salvador Dalí woodblock prints, recently accessioned into the FAC’s permanent collection. These woodblock prints feature depictions of chapters from Dante’s The Divine Comedy.
Salvador Dalí’s Divine Comedy series was originally commissioned in the early 1950s by the Italian government to celebrate the 700th birthday of Dante Alighieri by illustrating his preeminent poem about the journey through the underworld and into the afterlife. Although Dalí’s commission was eventually revoked, he persisted in completing the six-volume set, produced with support from French publisher Joseph Forét.
Initially created as 101 watercolor drawings, 100 of the works were reproduced using a wood engraving process, requiring the production of about 3,500 wood blocks to make the series, reducing them from their original size of approximately 16 x 11” and destroying the blocks after the final run was completed in 1974. Three editions of the complete Divine Comedy were produced: 4,765 in French, 3,188 in Italian, and 1,000 in German. The original watercolors are now widely scattered and the plates from many of the volumes have been removed and sold individually as separate works of art.