Dante’s epic poem referred to as The Divine Comedy or Dante’s Inferno is without a doubt one of Italy’s national treasures. It is loved by cultural institutions as well as the Roman Catholic Church and has been since it’s writing more than 700 years ago.
In 1950 Salvador Dali, who had completely rejected religion by that point was chosen to bring that work to life.
Part of this came to be because in 1949 Dante met with Pope Pius XII and received permission to do work on another concept, and the Italian Government not wanting to get left out signed a contract and paid Dali to illustrate the work by Dante Alighieri (The Divine Comedy)
This led to much argument among the various political class types in Italy at the time and eventually the project was completed through a French company. However it came to be the world now has a series of Watercolors done by Dali depicting events in The Divine Comedy. These were originally published in very limited quantities, many of which are still in the hands of private collectors (myself included).
There is a lot of detail about how these copies happened to be created. I will keep it brief, and if you are artistically inclined or curious there are books written on this topic.
But Dante painted 101 watercolors. Then wood carvings were made from those watercolors to create some “copies” of the paintings. Dali would apply the colors to the wood and press the pages between to create the image. The picture shown is one of those.
I have 4 in my home. The one shown here is Inferno #29 – Mohammed. It depicts the 19th and final portion of the 8th circle of Hell.
It does not look like a level that was pleasant.