ART IN VALENCIA …Dalí exhibition: ‘Lithographs of Pantagruelian Excesses’ until May 9th

##The Bancaja Foundation presents the Salvador Dalí exhibition: ‘Lithographs of Pantagruelian Excesses’

The exhibition shows the series of 25 lithographs produced by Salvador Dalí on the Pantagruel cycle by François Rabelais, which in 1565 was published by Richard Breton in Paris.

The Bancaja Foundation presents the Dalí exhibition, which shows the series of graphic works produced by Salvador inspired by the literary work Gargantua and Pantagruel written by François Rabelais, in which the Catalan artist had as a direct source the prints produced by François Desprez for the edition published in 1565 by the publisher Richard Breton.

The exhibition, curated by Fernando Castro Flórez and open until May 9th 2021, brings to the public one of Dalí’s lesser-known facets, that of illustrator, through this series of 25 lithographs on Japanese paper showing a gallery of crazy and fantastic characters that are represented between caricature and farce. In 1973, in his personal style, the Catalan artist versions 25 of Desprez’s 120 illustrations and adds his own critical perception, maintaining the original composition and adding details that underline their fantastic and satirical character. Half-human characters accompanied by elements of everyday life and represented with iconography laden with symbolism invite the viewer to look for hidden meanings in every detail.

The twenty-five plates that make up this series of engravings refer, in the manner of monstrous beings, to the burlesque adventures of Pantagruel. The models have their precedent in the so-called droleries, novel plots that take shape in the imagination of the creative genius himself and can be seen in the peculiar iconography of Bosch, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Jacques Callot and Goya, among other artists. Grotesque beings can be seen, reflecting everyday aspects, references to the carnival tradition and themes such as the deadly sins. Lust, gluttony and greed shamelessly portray these characters in prints that mix the dreamlike, the surprising and even the scatological.

The exhibition also brings together documents, objects, press cuttings, reproductions of some images and publications and three audiovisuals on Salvador Dalí that place these 25 lithographs in the context of the artist’s powerful and particular imagination. The exhibition includes Dalí’s lithographs alongside reproductions of the 25 prints by Desprez on which the Catalan artist worked, as well as a reproduction of the complete series of the 120 illustrations by the 16th-century French engraver.

Pantagruel, Desprez and Rabelais as Inspiration

Throughout his artistic career, Salvador Dalí took on board the idea expressed by Eugenio D’Ors when he said that “everything that is not tradition is plagiarism”, and the Catalan artist often took up works from the past by artists such as Raphael, Giorgione, Ingres and Manet. In this gaze into the past, Dalí also found in the works of Desprez and Rabelais around Pantagruel an artistic motivation from which the series of 25 lithographs was born.

François Rabelais (1494-1553) was a transgressive 16th-century figure. A student of classical languages, he took ecclesiastical orders as a Franciscan friar in 1520, which he later exchanged for the Benedictine habits and which he also abandoned to become a secular priest and devote himself to medicine and literature. Rabelais achieved great fame through literary compositions that were a faithful example of his incomparable personality, his mocking and independent character. His work Gargantua and Pantagruel is made up of five books that had been appearing individually since 1535 and were condemned by both the Sorbonne and the French Parliament as immoral and obscene, which made Rabelais’ novels particularly popular from the outset. Rabelais’ books constitute a fierce satire against the most respected institutions of his time, all through a carefree air, reflecting his personal way of understanding and behaving in life. The complete novel was published posthumously in 1564.

In 1565 Richard Breton published in Paris Les songes drolatiques de Pantagruel, a collection of 120 wood engravings by an anonymous author who signed them using Rabelais’s name and attributed them to the publisher and engraver François Desprez. Desprez’s woodcuts were republished in 1823-26 by Dabilon in Paris and annotated by Esmangart and Johanneau.

Report by 24/7 Valencia team

Salvador Dalí exhibition: ‘Lithographs of Pantagruelian Excesses’
Until May 9th 2021


23 Plaza Tetuán


Tel: 96 0 64 58 40

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm // Monday: 10 am to 2 pm // Holidays: 10 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 8 pm.

Free access for all publics: Sundays, from 4pm to 8pm.

Entrance fee: General: 5 euros / Reduced: 3 euros (pensioners, unemployed, people with functional diversity, students from 13 to 26 years old) // Free (children under 12 years old). Ticket sales at the box office (Plaza Tetuán, 23). Each ticket allows access to all the exhibitions in force at the time at the Bancaja Foundation.

Guided tour: Friday and Saturday, except holidays. 18 h. Price: 2 euros (free for children under 12). Duration: 45 min. Prior booking essential at They can be taken on the day of the visit itself, ten minutes before the start.

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