Tuesday, March 06, 2007
What AM I Looking At?
Since Aramis and I are wending our way through Hell with Dante and Virgil via Gil Bailie's taped lecture commentary series, we see here the work of probably the most celebrated illustrator of The Divine Comedy, Gustav Doré.
The most popular and successful French book illustrator of the mid 19th century. Doré became very widely known for his illustrations to such books as Dante's Inferno (1861), Don Quixote (1862), and the Bible (1866), and he helped to give European currency to the illustrated book of large . He was so prolific that at one time he employed more than forty blockcutters. His work is characterized by a rather naïve but highly spirited love of the grotesque and represents a commercialization of the Romantic taste for the bizarre. Drawings of London done in 1869-71 were more sober studies of the poorer quarters of the city and captured the attention of van Gogh. In the 1870s he also took up painting (doing some large and ambitions religious works) and sculpture (the monument to the dramatist and novelist Alexander Dumas in the Place Malesherbes in Paris, erected in 1883, is his work).