Brain Pickings

Salvador Dalí’s Rare 1975 Illustrations for Romeo & Juliet


Shakespeare gone surrealist in red silk.

The greatest literary classics tend to attract a plethora of visual art and graphic tributes. But the highest convergence of text and image happens when an influential artist reimagines an influential piece of literature — take, for instance, Picasso’s 1934 drawings for a naughty ancient Greek comedy or Matisse’s 1935 etchings for Ulysses. Among the painters who most readily lent their talents to literary classics was Salvador Dalí, who illustrated Don Quixote in 1946, the essays of Montaigne in 1947, and Alice in Wonderland in 1969. In 1975, the iconic Spanish surrealist illustrated an ultra-limited, presently impossible to find edition of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, published by Rizzoli in a red silk slipcase and featuring 10 lithographs by Dalí. Only 999 copies were published.

Complement with Dalí’s 1967 drawings for the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Images courtesy of Lockport Street Gallery via Richard Melnick

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