Gustave Doré was an Alsacian artist who specialized in book illustrations. Born in Strasbourg, France, on January 6, 1832, he began his artistic career in Paris when he was only 15 years old. His drawings and illustrations were groundbreaking and very popular, although he never won the acclaim of the artistic elite in France. In his later years, he spent much time in London, where he also opened a very popular gallery. He died on January 23, 1883, at the age of 51.
Doré is probably most famous for his depictions of numerous
scenes from the Bible, but he also produced illustrations for many other books,
including Milton, Dante, La Fontaine, Don Quixote, Baron Munchhausen, etc.
[See below for links to websites with a more detailed
biography and some reproductions of his non-biblical illustrations and paintings.]
The Bible Illustrations:
Doré and the artisans in his studios produced hundreds of different woodcuts illustrating scenes from a wide variety of biblical stories from both the Old Testament (including the Apocrypha) and the New Testament.
His biblical illustrations were first published in 1865 in France and reprinted in the late 1860's in various German, English, and other editions. These large-folio multi-volume Bibles (with about 240 illustrations each) were very heavy and expensive, but smaller editions were soon also published. Most of the illustrations are identical in the various editions, but some illustrations are not found in certain language editions, and in other cases as slightly different illustration is found for the same biblical passage.
Doré's illustrations were extremely popular in both Europe and America in the last decades of the nineteenth century. For example, over 1.5 million people visited the Doré Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1896. Several publishers also printed smaller collections of his biblical illustrations without the complete text of the Bible in so-called "Doré Bible Gallery" editions.
His artistic style greatly influenced some of the early biblical films, especially those of D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. In fact, some of the scenes from DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1923 & 1956) look remarkably similar to the corresponding biblical illustration by Doré.
This website contains illustrations related both to the Old Testament (esp. the prophetic books) and to the New Testament (esp. the Gospels). Click on the following links for the desired category:
OT Complete List | OT Prophets
| NT Complete List | Mark
| Matthew | Luke
| John | Passion
| Acts | Revelation
A Select Bibliography:
Doré's biblical illustrations have been printed and reprinted in many different editions by various publishers over the past 140 years:
Doré Galleries, with both biblical and non-biblical illustrations:
Some Related Links:
Copyright / Acknowledgments:
Since these illustrations are well over 100 years old, they are in the "public domain" and are thus free of copyright; but since I took the trouble to scan them and make them available on the web, I would appreciate receiving appropriate credit and acknowledgements. Thus, I encourage anyone to copy, print, download, distribute, or otherwise use these illustrations for any non-commercial purpose, especially for educational and/or religious uses; but please credit me by name (Felix Just, S.J.), include the URL of this page (http://catholic-resources.org/Art/Dore.htm), and/or link to it from your webpages. Thanks!
A Note to Owners of The Doré Bible Gallery:
One of the most frequent questions people ask me by e-mail is, "Can you tell me how much my book is worth?" Since I am a professor of New Testament Studies, not an antique book dealer, I really cannot help you determine the value of your book. A Doré Bible Gallery could be worth only $10 or over $100, depending on the exact edition and the quality of preservation, while a complete Doré Bible could be worth several hundred dollars. I suggest you search for your book at www.ebay.com, since some copies are auctioned there almost every week.
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This page was last updated on May 28, 2009
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