Unpublished Dalí Drawings Shed Light on Surrealist’s Connections to Works by Old Masters

New research has revealed a close link between Salvador Dalí and Leonardo da Vinci. According to a report by the Guardian, a previously unpublished preparatory drawing of Dalí’s 1955 painting The Sacrament of the Last Supper was likely inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s famed 15th-century mural.

The Dalí drawing shows Christ, as in Leonardo’s painting, at the center of the composition. Though Dalí’s final painting, which is part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., depicts a dreamy scene that takes place along the Catalan coast, the work borrows its basic structure from Leonardo’s depiction, which hews much closer to its original biblical source in subject matter.

This and two additional unpublished drawings “are important in that they reveal the creative process of the artist,” art historian Jean-Pierre Isbouts told the Guardian, adding, “They reveal Dalí as a meticulous artist, contradicting his image as an exuberant surrealist who just paints whatever comes into his mind.”

[Read about five experts’ favorite works by Leonardo da Vinci.]

Other drawings for Dalí’s paintings Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus), 1954, and Skull of Zurbarán (1956) reveal how those works were influenced by pieces by the 16th-century mathematician and architect Juan de Herrera and the 17th-century artist Francisco de Zurbarán. All three sketches are owned by Christopher Heath Brown, an American collector of Dalí’s works on paper, and these and other pieces are featured in a forthcoming book co-authored by Isbouts and titled The Dalí Legacy: How an Eccentric Genius Changed the Art World and Created a Lasting Legacy.

Dalí’s 1955 painting ‘The Sacrament of the Last Supper’ was influenced by Leonardo’s famed composition.Read MoreArtists, ARTnews, Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dalí­ARTnews.comRead More

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