March 5 - 27, 2021
In 1957, the Italian government commissioned Dali to create a complete set of illustrations for Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the author’s birth. Dali began the arduous task of selecting imagery and creating a watercolor painting for each of the 100 cantos of the poem. Shortly after Dali started the project, the Italian government withdrew its commission. Italian citizens had been outraged that a Spanish artist had been selected for this undertaking, instead of inviting an Italian artist to honor one of Italy’s greatest authors. However, it was very fitting that one of the leading artists in the Surrealist movement would be chosen to interpret the bizarre punishments of Inferno and Purgatorio and the fantastical images of Paradiso that Dante created – drawing inspiration from classical and biblical imagery, as well as his own imagination.The UT Downtown Gallery is pleased to present the complete collection of 100 prints. The prints are part of the permanent collection of the Ewing Gallery of Art + Architecture and was a gift by alumnus, Gary Johnson.