Gustave Doré is considered one of the greatest illustrators of all time, and classics of universal literature are still being published todayillustrated by this artist who was born in the French city of Strasbourg in 1832 or 1833, and died in 1883.
The list of his creations as an illustrator is very long, since he worked for years in the press ofParis, a city where he arrived encouraged by his own mother, which soon discovered the potential of her son. In fact, the anecdote is told that once in school he had to do the young Doré a translation of a Latin text, and instead of writing it, he presented it drawn.
Don Quixote by Gustave Doré
Of all the illustrations based on literary works that he made, possiblyDon Quixoteis the best known, but he also did works like:
– Milton's Paradise Lost
– Dante's Divine Comedy
– The Bible
– The Tales of Perrault
– The Fables of La Fontaine
– And various works by Balzac, Rabelais, Lord Byron,Edgard Allan Poe or Coleridge
The prestige of this artist reached an international level at the time, and his works appeared in France, England, Germany, Russia or Spain, creatingthus an influence of undoubted continental dimensions.
On the other hand, in all of his creations he expresses his undoubted value for drawing and illustration, however, he is capable of mastering any technical resource to transform it into different expressive registers. That is undoubtedly the differential value of Gustave Doré's work, its variety, something that undoubtedly reaches its maximum expression in a literary work as complex, complete and with hundreds of different readings as El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha, the true title of the great work of Miguel de Cervantes.
In Don Quixote, Doré can be shown to us at the same time as a draftsman of enormous compositional balance, but absolutely free, who creates both bright images and very dark ones, sometimes full of tenderness and others full of ridicule and satire, and on many occasions with outright fantasy. He can at the same time create dynamic or very static pictures. But whatever the style of each of his images, he is always capable of capturing all the essence of the text he alludes to as a whole or in a single gesture.
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
In fact, over time the collective imagination has always used Don Quixote by Doré as a reference to imagine the characters of Cervantes. And that is really commendable since this novel has been illustrated by many great authors, it has also been taken to comics and cartoons. In addition it hasinspired works by great painters such as Picasso himself or has been brought to celluloid since the days of silent movies and versions have been made directed by directors of the talent of Orson Welles. However, the iconic referent of Don Quixote are the 370 woodcuts published by Gustave Doré in 1863.