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New Toronto art exhibit to feature sculpture not seen in public for 50 years

This sculpture by Salvador Dali will be featured in a new Toronto art exhibit called "Divina Dali." This sculpture by Salvador Dali will be featured in a new Toronto art exhibit called "Divina Dali."
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A new art exhibit is opening up in Toronto this month that will feature work that hasn't been seen in public for more than half a century.

The exhibit is called Divina Dali and features the work of Spanish artist Salvador Dali, who is best known for his piece "The Persistence of Memory" with melting or drooping clocks.

The Toronto collection is an interpretation of Divina Comedia, a book of poems written by Dante Alighieri. It will also showcase Dali's sculpture of the author, a piece that has never before been displayed in North America.

"It was in a private collection," said Felix Belanger, CEO of La Girafe en Feu, who is putting on the exhibit. "It hasn't been seen for more than 50 years now."

It is a bronze sculpture with a crown made of silver spoons with gold plate.

"Only Dali would think like that," said Belanger. "It's quite impressive and it's fascinating."

Dali began work on the collection in 1950 and the sculpture in 1964.

"He worked for 10 years on this collection," said Raynald Michaud, the curator. "There's 100 poems in Divina Comedia."

The curator explained that Dali was initially asked to create the collection to mark the 700th anniversary of the death of Alighieri.

The exhibit layout will comprise of three different sections" the inferno, purgatory and paradise.

"(Dali) worked with a humanist approach, so inferno is the when you're young, you ask yourself questions all the time," Michaud said. "When you go to the purgatory. it's I would say the midlife crisis because it's the time when you find answers. The time you decide what you want to do with your life."

After that it's paradise, which Michaud said is love.

"People are going to meet Dante and decide if they want to go with him to this journey," said Belanger. "His journey is asking himself do I go in or do I continue my life like I was living it, or do I go in and meet my demons and things will change for me."

To add to the atmosphere there will be lights and music.

"This kind of work is so precise. (Dali) works with water colours and pen and ink. It's very detailed, it's very very special," said Michaud. "When we start to work this exhibition which is from Divina Comedia written by Dante we discovered a new Dali."

The exhibit is located at Brookefield Place, a building that was designed by Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect who like Dali was from Catalan. Belanger said Dali was also heavily influenced by architect Antoni Gaudi who designed the famous church in Barcelona, Gaudi Familia.

"Here  those three guys, three geniuses meeting," said Belanger. "We're going to bring the visitors to a journey written by Dante 700 years ago."

The exhibit opens on April 13 and will be open until the end of May.

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