Dali: The Illustrator

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While Salvador Dali may be most famous for his large scale Surrealistic paintings, he also completed a number of print series. His illustrations for the Biblia Sacra form the largest collection of prints made by Dali. The artist undertook many other illustration projects throughout his lifetime. Dali did not see publishing as any less noble than painting; he believed he should express himself in any medium possible. Looking at his illustrations, viewers can observe how elements from his paintings—dream-like imagery, symbols, elongated forms, and an expressive use of color—transfer over into his prints.

Dali created illustrations for several Shakespeare plays including As You Like It, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. His As You Like It illustrations feature several recognizable motifs including elongated elephants and a crutch. While most of his Macbeth illustrations lack color, they demonstrate his superb drawing skills. Finally, his most rare set, a collection of ten lithographs of scenes from Romeo and Juliet, are dramatic and emotional in  color and content.



      Cover  for As You Like It                       Macbeth Illustration


                                        Romeo and Juliet lithographs


Perhaps more well-known than his Shakespeare illustrations are Dali’s illustrations for the 1946 edition of Don Quixote de la Macha by Miguel de Cervantes. He created 38 works for this series consisting of a combination of black and white drawings and watercolors. Two notable motifs appear in this series. In one illustration, Dali includes an image of his wife Gala with a bow in her hair. In another, eggs, which represent hope and love, are depicted.



Don Quixote Illustrations


In another famous series, Dali illustrated Dante’s The Divine Comedy. The Italian government commissioned him to illustrate the poem in honor of Dante’s birthday. The commission was revoked due to controversy surrounding the government’s choice of a Spanish artist instead of an Italian one. However, Dali was able to find a French publisher who supported the project. The result of Dali’s nine years of labor is a collection of 101 watercolors published in a set of six volumes. These works contain details referenced in other works including melted faces, landscapes of the artist’s native land, and elongated limbs.



Hell Canto 15: Inhabitants of Prato                                                         Purgatory Canto 20

Dante Blinded


Other illustration projects Dali completed include ten prints for a 1969 edition of Alice in Wonderland and seven illustrations for The House Without Windows by Maurice Sandoz. Both stories are fantastical and strange which appealed to Dali’s sensibilities.



Alice in Wonderland:                                                                      The House Without Windows:
The Mock Turtle’s Story                                                                 Untitled 2


Come view Dali’s largest series of prints, the Biblia Sacra suite, at Baterybs Art Gallery.  These works will only be on display for 1 more week. Don’t miss your chance to see Dali’s stunning and complex lithographs. Admission is only a $5 donation to the Florida Cardiovascular Institute. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.