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Monday, July 21, 2014

The virtues and vices of the last Renaissance artist


Dalí come non lo hai mai visto ["Dalí as you had never seen him before"; but the original title was simpler, This is Dalí, Laurence King Publishing], Milan, IT: Electa, 2014, pages 80, euros 14.90

The biography written by Catherine Ingram is well documented, shedding light especially on the dark sides of the artist's -- and his wife Gala's -- life and personality. Just, one may wonder why Ingram wrote a book on Dalí if she feels no sympathy at all with the subject, simply describing him as a little spoiled Prince and a Nazi. The focus is one-sided (e.g. Dalí kept Francisco Franco quiet, but meanwhile sent money to the illegal Catalan Government in exile) and the keys being provided for his art are basically commonplace (he had a much deeper culture than what emerges here; whole chapters of his career have been left out, and almost completely so after the 1950s).

The book's importance lies especially in the very enjoyable and useful illustrations and maps by Andrew Rae, plus the further documentary sources: photos, paintings.