Salvador Dalí

Portrait of Pierre de Ronsard

Portrait of Pierre de Ronsard by Salvador Dalí

Artwork Detail

Born in Figueras, Spain, Salvador Dali is best known for his contribution to the Surrealism movement in France. His career was marked by a constant attempt to synthesise his love of old masters, not just from his own culture, such as Velasquez, Goya, El Greco, but also Dürer, Leonardo and Michelangelo, with innovative contemporary movements. His own writings were published throughout his career, and he was also involved in illustrating literary texts.

This remarkable drypoint and etching is a portrait of Pierre de Ronsard, the 16th century poet, whose Amours de Cassandra was first published in 1550. They were written in honour of Cassandra Salviati, whom Ronsard met at the Chateau of the Duke of d'Orléans when she was a beautiful fifteen-year-old.

When Dali was commissioned to illustrate a publication of these very famous sonnets, like Matisse he turned to the portrait contained in the original edition, by an unknown artist. Whereas the original is a somewhat dry and formal profile portrait of Ronsard wearing a toga and laurel wreath, Dali produced a virtuoso interpretation, so that the poet's face becomes quirkily animated, his hair flying away from his head as if charged with electricity.

Portrait of Pierre de Ronsard
Salvador Dalí
Production date
etching with drypoint
385 x 280 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2004
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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