Salvador Dalì and Dante Alighieri or the meeting of two giants; for the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the birth of Italy’s greatest poet, in the 1950s, the great and eclectic Spanish artist was commissioned by the Italian government to illustrate the Divine Comedy.

This led the Catalan artist to a considerable commitment with the creation of no less than one hundred and two watercolours that were presented in what was to be the first true retrospective exhibition of Dali in Italy in May 1954 at Palazzo Pallavicini Rospigliosi in Rome.

This work was commissioned by the Istituto Poligrafico dello Stato Italiano and was also to be printed by them.

But this was not the case; a dispute arose over the cost and the appropriateness of entrusting a foreign artist with the illustration of the masterpiece by the father of the Italian language.

The Poligrafico’s project failed and the work was published for the first time in 1959 by the French publisher Joseph Foret with the title “100 aquarelles pour la Divine Comédie de Dante Alighieri par Salvador Dalí” (Joseph Foret, Paris, 1960).

It was not published in Italy until years later by Milko Skofic through his Salani publishing house in Florence.