Salvador Dalí, ‘Hell Canto 3 (The Divine Comedy)’, Martin Lawrence Galleries

In 1951, to celebrate the 700th birthday of the Italian poet, Dante Alighiere, Salvador Dalí was commissioned to create a set of illustrations for La Commedia Divina. There was extreme negative reaction from the Italian public about a Spaniard illustrating Italy's greatest literary work. The project was dropped by the government but Dalí strove to complete the project with help from old friend and French art publisher Joseph Foret. There are 100 pieces in the collection and the watercolor and woodcuts were created in a range of artistic styles. In the suite, Dali's mysticism has free reign to explore and express itself, and we see the themes and images from his paintings of this period repeated in these woodcuts.
This wood engraving measuring 10 x 7 inches is framed in archival materials.

Image rights: Martin Lawrence Galleries

About Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dalí was a leading proponent of Surrealism, the 20-century avant-garde movement that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious through strange, dream-like imagery. “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision,” he said. Dalí is specially credited with the innovation of “paranoia-criticism,” a philosophy of art making he defined as “irrational understanding based on the interpretive-critical association of delirious phenomena.” In addition to meticulously painting fantastic compositions, such as The Accommodations of Desire (1929) and the melting clocks in his famed The Persistence of Memory (1931), Dalí was a prolific writer and early filmmaker, and cultivated an eccentric public persona with his flamboyant mustache, pet ocelot, and outlandish behavior and quips. “Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure,” he once said. “That of being Salvador Dalí.”

Spanish, 1904-1989, Figueres, Spain