DORÉ, Gustave
(b. 1832, Strasbourg, d. 1883, Paris)


French illustrator, painter and sculptor, best known for his illustrations of epic literature, such as those by Dante, Cervantes, Hugo, and Milton, as well as contemporary texts, such as those by Balzac.

In 1847 he went to Paris and began producing lithographic caricatures for a weekly journal and several albums of lithographs (1847-54). He achieved fame and wide popularity with his wood-engraved book illustrations; among the finest were editions of Dante's Inferno (1861) and the Bible (1866). His vivid work is characterized by images of the grotesque and bizarre. Employing over 40 block cutters, he eventually produced more than 90 illustrated books.

Dramatic, chiaroscuro illustrations of the Bible and literary giants made Doré's name. He had a particular gift for illustrating nature and fairy tales. An enthusiastic traveler, in his later career he spent much time in England, where he illustrated Tennyson and others, and opened his own successful Doré Gallery. In 1872, he began to record the conditions of London slums. These engravings are rich in dramatic detail and show a harsh and nightmarish world.Among his numerous projects, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published in England 1875, dates to his later, darker years. He considered it one of his "best and most original" works. The book was a great commercial success, even in the United States.

His work influenced that of Van Gogh and later, the Symbolists. He died at age fifty-one of a heart attack.

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