In 1950, the Italian government invited Spanish painter Salvador Dali to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the birth of Dante by illustrating his epic poem, The Divine Comedy, for a deluxe edition. Although the artist was commissioned to produce 100 illustrations, the Italian public´s ire was piqued by the thought that a foreigner would be given the honor of illuminating a work by one of Italy´s most renowned literary legacies. As a result of the controversy, the Italian government severed ties with Dali and hired an Italian artist for the illustrations. But Dali continued working on the illustrations and remained passionate about the project and for over nine years when, in 1959, the French publishing house Les Heures Claires signed on to publish a French edition. Under Dali´s direct supervision, they used a high-quality engraving process and achieved stunning results.