Salvador Dalí (Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech) was born May 11, 1904 and died January 23, 1989, both in Figueras, Spain). There are so many “bios” on Dali, it’s impossible to quote from all. However, here are the “basics.”
Dali studied art in Madrid and Barcelona adapting a vast number of artistic styles. In the late 1920s two events brought about the development of his mature artistic style: the reading of Sigmund Freud’s erotic writings of subconscious imagery, and Dali’s affiliation with a group of writers and artists known as the Paris Surrealists, who sought to establish the “greater reality” of the human subconscious over reason. That influence had Dali bringing into his subconscious mind numerous images from his ability to hallucinate without drugs, a process he described as “paranoiac critical.”
Once Dalí hit on that method, his painting style matured with extraordinary rapidity, and from 1929 to 1937 he produced the paintings which made him the world’s best-known Surrealist artist. He depicted a dream world in which commonplace objects are juxtaposed, deformed, or otherwise metamorphosed in a bizarre and irrational fashion. Dalí portrayed those objects in meticulous, almost painfully realistic detail and usually placed them within bleak sunlit landscapes that were reminiscent of his Catalonian homeland.
In the late 1930s Dalí switched to painting in a more-academic style under the influence of the Renaissance painter Raphael. His ambivalent political views during the rise of fascism alienated his Surrealist colleagues. He began designing theatre sets, interiors of fashionable shops, and jewelry as well as exhibiting his genius for flamboyant self-promotional stunts in the United States, where he lived from 1940 to 1955 (escaping the effects of WWII). From 1950 to 1970, Dalí painted many works with religious themes (including the piece you see here), though he continued to explore erotic subjects, to represent childhood memories, and to use themes centering on his wife, Gala.
This is called “The Blasphemers” from a woodblock print. It is from the book, The Divine Comedy (Dante’s Inferno) and there are 105 such prints. It is Inferno #14 and comes with its own Canto or verse in the book. A woodblock is exactly that, a block of wood with an image carved into it. The carving creates a relief pattern. Then the uncut part of the wood is printed. The Blasphemers print required 34 separate woodblocks to create the final print. Printing one woodblock added the color wash laid on the woodblock. The entire printing process can be seen as a decomposition. All of woodblocks, after printing, were burned, as ordered by Dali.
It is professionally framed, 18.5″ x 21.5″, matted with acid-free matting, and covered with Plexiglass. The image measures 10.25″ x 13″. It is unique first edition, printed in France on BFK paper, and listed in the Michler Lopsinger catalogue, 1052. It comes with a certificate of authenticity.