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Biblia Sacra

C 2000 Park West Gallery - Provenance / Attestations & Letters of Authority

 Dali's friend and patron, Giuseppe Albaretto, commissioned the artist to create one hundred and five lithographs to illustrate the Bible. Six years were spent, from 1963 - 1969, in creating the lithographs, which were edited and printed by Rizzoli Editions. Between 1976 and 1979 Mr. Roberto Mastella, a prominent Dali collector arranged through Mr. Albaretto to have Dali hand-sign examples of the lithographs. These are the only known examples of the Sacra Biblia hand-signed by Salvador Dali in existence!

More than one year was spent researching and authenticating these lithographs. Mr. Bernard Ewell, ASA, a recognized expert in the field of Dali's works and appraiser of the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Fl., along with Albert Field, official archivist, both authenticated the lithographs and the hand-signatures by Dali. Dr. Mara Albaretto Berio, widow of Giuseppe Albaretto, has also authenticated these lithographs.

Albaretto's intention in convincing Dali to accept the Biblical commission was to lead the artist to God. He believed that studying the Bible, Dali would once again be drawn to the Catholic religion, fearing that through the influence of Dali's wife, Gala, the artist was risking his spiritual redemption. We can never know the spiritual outcome of the experience of creating the Sacra Biblia, but the artistic outcome is certainly remarkable. Bernard Ewell, in commenting on the series stated, "Having examined the original painting, as well as the printed illustrations, I am tremendously impressed by the fidelity of the prints. It is frequently difficult to tell they are not the original paintings. They are of quality that would fool most viewers. Truly, the coming together of the Albarettos, the Bible, and Dali resulted in a creation of a set of images that represent far more than the sum of the parts. Even so, it is worth stating again that each image quite clearly can stand alone as an individual work of art by Salvador Dali.

Description Detail on the Collection

Original lithographs in color on heavy rag paper. Signed in color pencil, also signed on the stone. Numbered in Roman numerals and annotated "g.a." One of 9 (nine) examples hand-signed by Dali between 1976 and 1979. Aside from an edition numbered in Arabic of 56 examples.

One of one hundred and five illustrations of the Sacra Biblia by Salvador Dali, published by Rizzoli Editions, Milan, Italy, 1969, and commissioned by Giuseppe Albaretto. From the collection of Roberto Mastella. One complete hand-signed Bible also exists, in a private collection.

5-Star Rating by Tommy Varzos (subjective response)

Without question, every single image of the Sacra Biblia collection is sumptuous, rich in colors, precise in content, and without parallel. I also realize that not everyone can afford to own an entire body of works like the Sacra Biblia. I have quite brashly applied my own 5-Star treatment of appreciation. It could be wildly different from your own response to the artwork. As my Cambridge University art history instructor had apologized to my classmates and me, I too apologize to you for not being able to present each of these visual marvels for your viewing in person. In an endeavor to assist your long distance viewing of the 105 original images, I have applied the following ratings of how the images affected me when I viewed them at the offices of my employer, Park West Gallery. Again, you may disagree for completely valid reasons. The assessment is solely my response to these fabulous images.


1-Star = Easily a world class image.

2-Star = Goes beyond greatness. This image is hard to walk away from.

3-Star = The lines of distinction blur here. This image is extraordinary.

4-Star = It is difficult for me to tell you why I prefer any of the five star images over the four star examples.

5-Star = I need this image in my personal collection. It is riveting!

More Images From Dali's Sacra Biblia