The Divine Comedy
Part I: Hell
Dante Alighieri’s epic poem describing his travels through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise serves as an allegory representing the journey of the soul toward God. Maria’s illustrations for this set of original lithographs employs her own cast of characters. Following Dante’s lead, many of these people made the cut by either intriguing or pissing her off or they were notorious in politics or the community.
This triptych of original lithographs was produced at the workshop of master lithographer Ernest de Soto in San Francisco. I wanted the completed lithos to resemble ancient Etruscan wall paintings.
My preliminary watercolor sketches were consulted but not adhered to strictly. Six colors of ink were used on separate zinc plates to layer together the imagery. I drew with litho crayons, liquid tusches and washes and experimented with different textures, salt etches and other tools and techniques to achieve a painterly result. The images that I had drawn in outline were traced onto the plates in reverse. After I completed the litho drawing and tusche washes etc for each color, the plates were etched and redrawing was done before the final proof was approved for the edition. The project took two months of 15-hour days to produce.
In this type of original lithography process, etching cleanses the plate where there is no drawn image which makes that part of the plate impervious to the ink. When the drawing medium is removed from the plate, the exposed areas pick up the rolled-on ink.
Dimensions: 31in x 25in
Media: Original lithograph on handmade 100% rag DePonte paper from Mexico.
Series: Numbered edition of 70
Triptych Set #6 of Edition of 70: Permanent Collection, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento,CA