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Salvador Dali and the Biblia Sacra

 In Art & Gallery News, Artists & Special Collections, Salvador Dali

The Park West Gallery Dali Collection is one of the most thoroughly documented and authenticated collections of Salvador Dali artwork. For over 40 years, Park West has been a reliable resource for authentic work from master Salvador Dali. 


About the Biblia Sacra

The Biblia Sacra lithographs were produced by Master Artist Salvador Dali as illustrations for a new edition of the Bible. Dr. Giuseppe Albaretto, a devout man and Dali’s friend and patron, had great faith and dedication to the Catholic Church. It was this faith and dedication that lead him, in 1963, to commission Salvador Dali to create the illustrations.

"Filiae Herodiadis saltatio" (The Sance of Herodias' Daughter, 1964). Lithograph from Salvador Dali's Biblia Sacra series.

“Filiae Herodiadis saltatio” (The Dance of Herodias’ Daughter, 1964). Lithograph from Salvador Dali’s Biblia Sacra series.

Dr. Albaretto knew that the project would require Dali to study the Bible, and he hoped this would bring his artist friend back to God. From this commission came the Biblia Sacra, as series of surreal depictions of key themes from the Bible. The Biblia Sacra suite consists of 105 color mixed-technique lithographs after 105 watercolor paintings created by Dali between 1963 and 1964.


Publishing and Printing

Each Biblia Sacra was comprised of five volumes, bound in richly tooled leather, containing the text of the Bible along with the 105 lithographs. Dr. Albaretto arranged to have the work published by Rizzoli Editions of Mediolani, Italy, with himself as the editor.

"Plange, virgo, accincta sacco" ("Lament, virgin, girded with sackcloth," 1964). Lithograph from Salvador Dali's Biblia Sacra series.

“Plange, virgo, accincta sacco” (“Lament, virgin, girded with sackcloth,” 1964). Lithograph from Salvador Dali’s Biblia Sacra series.

Three editions were produced that resulted in a total of nearly 1800 sets of Biblia Sacra volumes, of which ninety-nine sets were personalized for prominent individuals and families. Additionally, there were some lithographs released by Rizzoli Editions as individual unbound images and as portfolios of six images without text.

 


Mixed Technique Graphic Works

The Biblia Sacra works are a combination of offset lithography, continuous tone lithography, serigraphy (silkscreening) with application of varnishes and metallic inks. The works were “printed” on a heavy stock designed specifically to hold up to the various techniques used.

"Spiritus promptus est, caro vero infirma" ("The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," 1964). Lithograph from Salvador Dali's Biblia Sacra series.

“Spiritus promptus est, caro vero infirma” (“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” 1964). Lithograph from Salvador Dali’s Biblia Sacra series.

Quality craftsmanship and artistry are evident in every Biblia Sacra work. The unique combination of multiple printing techniques gives these illustrations a richness and depth that resulted in works that are exceptionally true to the original paintings.


For information about collecting works from Dali’s Biblia Sacra series, contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 during business hours or at sales@parkwestgallery.com.

A comprehensive history of the “Biblia Sacra” can be found in the 2006 book “Dalí—Illustrator” by noted Dalí expert Eduard Fornés.

“Dalí—Illustrator" by noted Dalí expert Eduard Fornés.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Carol Baldridge
    Reply

    I am in the possession of a 5 volume set of the Salvador Dali “Biblia Sacra…” I presume that it is the “Luxus” Edition. We also have a custom cabinet for the folio volumes. the spines are slightly worn, but the interior is in excellent condition. Can you recommend where I would go to have them valued? I am in the Philadelphia area.

  • Steven Leonard
    Reply

    I am interested in a lithograph of Salvador Dali from his Sacred Biblia Collection entitled Taken Down From The Cross. Do you have any information on this piece for me? Thank You.

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