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"Biblia Sacra" illustrated by Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali Biblia Sacra vulgatae editionis 5 volumi 105 litografie Rizzoli Milano 1967 frontespizio Biblia Sacra vulgatae editionis is a work composed in 5 volumes with 105 lithographs and a cast of the artist's hand, illustrated by Salvador Dali and published by Rizzoli [Milan 1967]. In 1963, his friend and patron Dr. Giuseppe Albaretto commissioned master Salvador Dali to illustrate the Biblia Sacra. To create this amazing work, the artist created 105 works between watercolors and gouache which then gave life to the work itself. The edition consisted of 1,800 series of books of the Bible in 5 volumes with 105 color lithographs, printed with different techniques on Bristol board with measures 36 x 48 cm, published by Rizzoli from December 1967 to the first half of 1969 as follows:

99 "ad personam" copies, each complete with an original plate by Salvador Dali. Green Moroccan leather binding, back divided by five nerves, decorated with embossed and gold impressions and multicolored leather mosaics done by hand; dentella in gold. Glances in jade-colored silk moire with panels, leather capitals, head cut in pure gold. Printed text expressly made by hand, vat, with filigree. The plates outside the text are made in several colors on special handmade cardboard with Japanese paper cover, printed in silk-screen, bearing the relative caption. The five volumes are each accompanied by a case covered externally with the same silk moires and green morocco used for the binding of the volume, while the interior is lined with colored cloth. Also included with the volumes is a gold cast of Dalì's hand, worked by hand.

199 copies in the "luxury" edition, marked with Roman numerals from I to CXCIX, similar in all respects to the "ad personam" edition. Also the cast of the artist's hand, always in hand-worked gold, is the same one supplied for the "ad personam" edition.

1499 copies in "luxury" edition, marked with Arabic numerals from 1 to 1499, bound in full leather Kairas goat leather, back divided by five ribs with embossed and gold embossing. Looks in ivory-colored silk moire, capitals in leather, head cut in pure gold. The text is printed on specially manufactured paper, with handwriting and watermark. The plates outside the text are made in several colors on special hand-made cardboard with a Japanese paper cover, silkscreened, bearing the relative caption. The five volumes are each accompanied by a case covered externally with the same moires of silk and leather-colored leather used for the binding, while the interior is lined with colored cloth. A silver cast of Dalì's hand is included with the volumes.

The color plates outside the text

The nature of the original plates by Salvador Dali, rich in color and colored "matter", executed with the most diverse techniques that the whimsical and free imagination of an artist, such as Dali, may have adopted and invented in order to achieve a particular effect chromatic (pastel, charcoal, ink, watercolor, pencil, tempera or gold, with relief, shiny and opaque lights and shadows), undoubtedly constituted, as regards the reproduction and realization, the biggest obstacle to overcome for the execution of this work. What the artist was able to happily create with color to give life to the image, he immediately presented itself as difficult to reproduce; he had to try and try again, making use of all possible graphic techniques, modern and ancient, to obtain the maximum fidelity of reproduction; not least the manufacture of a special cardboard, which could receive the many overlapping color impressions with different means. The result achieved in the reproduction of the plates is the fruit of a few years of work spent in research and tests (the first positive results of this work were exhibited, in comparison with the originals, in New York in June 1965), and in training of a few, qualified operators, who have been trained, for a "team" work such as this "mixed" reproduction technique requires.

The paper

The paper for the text of the "ad personam" and "grand luxury" editions is of pure rag, therefore of the highest quality ever produced, handcrafted on a form with watermark of the Dali signature inserted in a circle, and was made to the vat according to the systems used by the ancient Fabriano paper masters. The text paper for the "luxury" edition, also in rag, laid and with the same watermark, was made on a round machine. The cardboard used for the realization of the tables, the same for the different editions, is also of pure rag, manufactured on a round machine and subsequently treated with animal gelatin.

The binding

The binding, entirely done by hand, is in all leather. For the "ad personam" and "great luxury" editions, first choice Cape Moroccan leathers were used, tanned and hand-dyed in a dark green color. On this basic tone, on which the gold of the Renaissance decoration stands out (inspired by the ornamental motifs of the Manutius caps), the shades of the thin leathers used for the mosaic of the back that colors the leaves and flowers with more intense tones have been harmonized or paler. The only notes of a brighter color - red - are the bottom of the label (on which the title of the work is engraved), the first flower located at the top of the flowered slice and, in the base box, the number of each volume. The back is divided by five sturdy nerves, and the six boxes that derive from it have been embossed to frame the decorative motif that rises from the bottom and winds upwards, preserving that continuity of design that can be glimpsed even with the breaking of the nerves. The head cut is in pure gold; the other two sides of the page are uncut. The looks are in jade-colored silk moire, applied by brush, and the dentella in gold. For the "luxury" edition, first choice Kairas goat skins in leather color were used. The same ornamental motif of the other two editions, embossed in gold, decorates the ribbed spine on the dry-stamped boxes. For the gilding of the spine and the dentelle, pure 24-carat gold leaves were used, obtained with the same technique that the medieval "goldbeats" used to prepare the gold sheets intended for the gilding of the bindings of the books of the time, bindings that even today we can admire them unchanged in color and brightness despite the centuries that have passed.

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