"Even at art school they (the illustration from Dante's inferno) could still send shivers through me. I've never understood why "illustration" is used dismissively in the art world. I mean Dore had to imagine these things. The power comes fromt he invention-the drama and variety of scale. What they really are is a series of Brilliantlly expressed phobias. To dismiss them because they are in a book is ridiculous. It's that stupid old "fine art" snobbery again"
Paula Rego was born in Portugal, which at that time was a country that had not yet become Americanized, and it still fiercly clung onto it's tradition and culture which revolved around storytelling.
There weren't tvs humming away in every house,families instead gathered around and told each their stories for entertainment. Paula remembers the stories her grandmother, aunts, and other relatives would tell her and in her art, specifically this era, there is a lot of storytelling. Also as a child Paula remembers loving the illustrations in her father's big book, Dante's Inferno.
The etchings are dark and the scenes dramatically lit, and Paula's work from this era echoes these illlustrations.
It's bizarre to see images of nursery stories rendered in the same style and medium as the dark images from Dante's Inferno. She chose to use to
make the art in this section in the same medium and feel of those illustrations. Click on the links above and
see some of them.