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To the 190th Anniversary of the Birth of the Great Engraver Gustave Doré

To the 190th Anniversary of the Birth of the Great Engraver Gustave Doré
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The Dante's Divine Comedy exhibition at the National Library of Belarus presents the original nineteenth-century edition of the Inferno, illustrated by the renowned artist Doré.

Paul Gustave Doré is a graphic artist, illustrator and painter. He was born on January 6, 1832 in Strasbourg, France. His talent for the visual arts emerged at an early age. But Doré did not receive an art education, and his knowledge was drawn mainly from visits to the Louvre and the National Library. Already at the age of 15, he developed a graphic album The Labours of Hercules in the technique of lithography.

Doré began designing illustrations for The Divine Comedy in 1857, using Pierre Angelo Fiorentino's French translation of the poem. In 1861, the first edition of Inferno was published with 75 woodcuts (woodcuts), on which about 40 engravers worked. The full series of illustrations for the Divine Comedy appeared only in 1868: 42 engravings for Purgatorio and 18 engravings for Paradiso.

Doré was called the greatest illustrator of the 19th century for the unmatched interplay of light and shadow in his graphic works. These editions of the Divine Comedy with the master's illustrations popularised the poem among a wide range of European readers.

The collection of the National Library of Belarus holds a number of other outstanding publications by French writers with Doré's illustrations. For example, The Droll Stories of Honore de Balzac (1855), A.P. Dumas' collected works (1856), the satirist Rabelais' pieces (1857), the Fábulas by La Fontaine (1868) and the poem Paradise Lost and Regained by Milton (1878).

Gustave Doré's work is a shining example of academic graphic art with incredible technical virtuosity, elegance and pompous compositions.

Exhibition “Dante's Divine Comedy” is on show in the Book Museum until 16 January 2022.

The opening hours of the exhibition correspond to the opening hours of the Book Museum.
Admission is by the library card or by the Social and Cultural Centre ticket.

Book Research Department

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