Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Doré and the Bible

Doré is one of the great illustrators - and I have long enjoyed his engravings. My library includes a collection that Dover published in 1974, The Dore Bible Illustrations. Scott Lamb at Discerning Reader recommends a newer collection, by George Davidson, Scenes from The Bible:
Gustave Doré (1832-1883) was an engraver, sculptor and illustrator from France. His wood and steel engravings illustrated books by Lord Byron, Cervantes, Poe, but I think he is best known for his Biblical illustrations. It was for these that he became famous in his own lifetime, and for which he reaped the most financial success and acclaim.

Moving from Genesis to Revelation, this collection contains scenes from just about every Bible story you can imagine. Being engravings, they are all in black-and-white, and utilize contrasting light to bring forth the focus of the scenes. ....

When a biblical story contained violence, Doré did not back away from revealing the ugliness of the moment- the head of John the Baptist, David killing Goliath, the bears killing the youth who mocked Elijah, etc.

One aspect of Doré's work that I really appreciate is how when the biblical story contains an element of God's power and might, His power and might is the central focus of the picture - "Elijah Destroys the Messengers of Ahaziah by Fire". When the scene calls for a display of divine magnificence, then that is exactly what we see.
Amazon.com: Scenes from The Bible: George Davidson, Gustave Dore: Books


  1. This new volume might be the same as the older one, just repackaged. Dore is fun to look at.
    Scott Lamb

  2. The earlier one was edited by Millicent Rose - but the illustrations are all by Dore! Thanks for the review, Scott.


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