The Twelve Tribes of Israel ,
A series of thirteen colorful signed and numbered etchings by the Spanish Catalonian artist Salvador Dali (1904 - 1989). Dali was a surrealist artist, one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Dali created this series in the 1970's. It is one of 250 editions printed in honor of the 25th anniversary of the State of Israel's Independence. In 1973 this series was also designed as silver medals and an introduction by Abba Eban, Israel's then Foreign Minister, was attached to the medals.
As a surrealist artist, Dali was influenced by film, by the theories of Freud, by artists from the Renaissance and by his eccentric and theatrical world. His work is influenced by childhood experiences and erotic fantasies that are expressed in motives that became a clear symbol of his creativity. All of these can be found in psychological analysis of his works and in his autobiography "The Secret Life of Salvador Dali".
About the Series
Each etching in the series represents one of the twelve tribes of Israel. The work includes images partially based on the blessing of Jacob or the blessing of Moses to the tribes. These are presented through symbol, flag, color and jewel stones from the breastplate. The accompanying descriptions are described in Dali's surrealistic style, in which relations of size, color and shape are not necessarily linked to reality, but present the private world of the artist. One can discern diagonal lines that provide the work with a feeling of depth. One large image dominates most of the page and usually characterizes the tribe. In front or behind it is a small object that completes the composition. The colors are bright and the style is minimalistic.
The series presents the twelve tribes of Israel, the descendants of Jacob that were born to him from his wives: the sisters Leah and Rachel, and the handmaidens Zilpah and Bilhah. The order of the sons' births can be found in the book of Genesis: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph and Benyamin.