Through his eccentric and often bizarre works, Salvador Dali managed to make the most of this technique. Certainly Salvador Dali's most famous woodcuts are the works that illustrate the "Divine Comedy". The 100 color woodcuts, from original watercolors, represent one of Salvador Dali's greatest illustrative works. 10 years of intense work to paint it, 5 years to engrave the 3500 pieces of wood needed to progressively imprint the 35 colors of the single boards. The precious graphic collection was obtained thanks to a meticulous and delicate process of engraving wooden plates under the direct supervision of the Maestro. Salvador Dali illustrates Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise where we find the characteristics of Dalin's style: the soft figures, the dissolution of forms, the crudeness and the macabre, the thin features and the figures elongated beyond belief, the juxtapositions of apparently extraneous figures, the memorable drawers and even the atomic period. The Catalan artist has created incredibly detailed woodcuts that combine realistic elements with fantastic elements.
Hints on the woodcut
Woodcut is a relief technique, it is the oldest graphic technique done on a wooden matrix, the technique consists of engraving on the matrix by removing material, what is hollowed out will then come out in the printing process. Lost matrix woodblock printing is a technique that consists of engraving the wood matrix several times and making different color changes from the lightest to the darkest. You take the original design and copy it on a transparent paper and then put it back on the matrix, this must be done because on the matrix the design must have a mirror effect so on the contrary because at the time of printing the design is straight. Once all the design with all its details has been reported, we proceed with the engraving on the plate, since in this printing technique we proceed from the light color to the darkest color it is very important to decide immediately which are the white parts, they are engraved, the plate is inked with a light color and then printed, so we will have the first result on our paper, an important thing is to be very precise and establish a precise print register so that it is always accurate. The paper obviously has to be very good and resistant because it will have to undergo many passages of color. Then we move on to the second step of engraving, ink and print and so on, all this proceeds for several times until you really get to the last step where the last element remains. As it is well understood, obviously you cannot go back for this reason it is called a lost matrix or once everything is done the matrix itself cannot reproduce the drawing again because there is nothing inside it all the steps have now been hollowed out and thrown away.
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