NOTICE: The Library is planning to implement a new library management system on July 18. In preparation for this transition some functions and services will operate at a limited capacity starting July 12 at 12:00 pm. Users can still check out and return items and search the catalog. Users will not be able to log in to their library accounts, request items online, or use self check-out machines. If you have questions please email accessservices@georgetown.edu or call (202) 687-7607.

The Booth Family Center for Special Collections is now using the Aeon request management system for all patron registration and materials requests. Learn more about Aeon or create an Aeon account at aeon.library.georgetown.edu.

You are here

Detail from St. James of Hope [Canto 25 of Paradiso in Dante's Divine Comedy]

You are here

Salvador Dalí's Proofs for The Divine Comedy

 

St. James of Hope [Canto 25 of Paradiso in Dante's Divine Comedy]
Original watercolor by Salvador Dalí
Wood block engraving and printing by Raymond Jacquet and Jean Taricco
Wood engraving
ca. 1960
330 x 254 mm

Gift of Denise and Alan Gross
1111.78.1

This animation is 37 seconds long, but in real life it takes a lot of time to make one full-color print.

Each single sheet of paper is run through the press once for every color of ink used—in this case, thirty-three colors. As the inks build up on the paper, the image emerges and clarifies into a scene from Dante's Divine Comedy, illustrated by Salvador Dalí.

Dalí made 100 watercolor illustrations for the Divine Comedy from 1951 – 1960; after that, two master wood engravers took another five years to create the 3,500 wood blocks necessary to reproduce the watercolors as prints.

The Booth Family Center has a complete set of Dante's text and Dalí's printed illustrations for the Divine Comedy. Our special edition also contains several progressive proof sets: single-color impressions (one color per sheet) from each of the different blocks needed for a particular image. The thirty-three sheets for St. James of Hope were scanned and combined in Adobe Photoshop to make the animation above.

Christen Runge, Assistant Curator, University Art Collection