Few are the intellectual giants who qualify for recognition in Montegrappa’s most exclusive range of pens. The subjects of the writing instruments in the Genio Creativo series are as exceptional as the oysters that deliver perfect pearls, or the harvests that yield cases of Masseto. With criteria so restrictive, Genio Creativo has honoured to date only two individuals: the greatest of all luthiers, Antonio Stradivari (in 2007), and the remarkable painter and sculptor, Amedeo Modigliani (in 2008).
Clearly, only an equally remarkable maestro could join such august company. The third ‘creative genius’ in Montegrappa’s roster of peerless artists is Salvador Dalí. A visionary who personified surrealism, he was also a writer, filmmaker and designer – truly the 20th Century equivalent of a ‘Renaissance Man’.
Blessed not only with technical skills talent but also with a unique visual sense, Dalí produced a number of significant works so original and startling that they have entered the global consciousness. Among the most famous are The Persistence of Memory, the universally familiar surrealistic landscape of soft, melting pocket watches painted in 1931, and his 1944 work, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening.
It is the latter painting that has inspired Montegrappa’s designers to devise a pen worthy of Dalí’s vision. It was the first of a number of works to contain a form, which would become a recurring image in Dalí’s work, followed by The Temptation of St Anthony of 1946 and the 1961 jewellery, The Space Elephant. Elephants are also present in the garden of the Gala Dalí Castle, in Púbol, where the elephants, as Dalí states, ‘advance threateningly towards the castle.’
Dalí was inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s sculpture, the ‘Pulcino della Minerva’, unveiled in February 1667 and which still stands outside the basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. Known as ‘Bernini’s Chick’, it portrays an image originating in the mysterious Renaissance novel, Hypnerotomachia Polyphili of 1499. Dreams play a crucial role in the novel, and the image of the elephant bearing the obelisk adds an unmistakably dream-like quality to Dalí’s paintings. Dalí took Bernini’s elephant and, with his inimitable sense of proportion, stretched its legs to unreal lengths.
Montegrappa’s designers have transformed these noble beasts, portrayed ‘with long, multi-jointed, almost invisible legs of desire along with obelisks on their backs’ into miniature manifestations of Dalí’s art. On the Dalí pen, the elephant embraces a barrel of Mediterranean blue celluloid for the silver edition, or in malachite green for the solid gold version. When the pen is opened, a quote from the autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, is inscribed on the sterling silver inner barrel.
Montegrappa will issue only 1000 sterling silver fountain pens and 989 rollerball pens, denoting 1989 – the year that Dalí died. 19 solid gold rollerball pens and 61 fountain pens will represent the year he created the 1961 jewellery, The Space Elephant. The pens are packaged, appropriately, in an egg-shaped container, in recognition of another Dalíesque image. For the artist, the egg symbolised hope and love.
This project has been supervised and licensed by the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, the cultural institution created by Salvador Dalí himself in 1983. Salvador Dalí personally chaired and ran the Fundació until his death. The Kingdom of Spain, Dalí’s universal heir, granted the Fundació exclusive power to manage Salvador Dalí’s estate, both material and immaterial (copyright, image and industrial property rights, registered names and other elements derived from the artist’s life and work).
The Fundació runs the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, which presents the most comprehensive collection of the artist’s work, the Gala Dalí Castle-Museum in Púbol and the Salvador Dalí house in Port Lligat, Cadaqués. Giuseppe Aquila, CEO of Montegrappa, says, ‘There can be no greater validation of the Genio Creativo Pen in honour of Salvador Dalí than authorisation and guidance from the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí.’
For its contribution to the project, Mr. Joan Manuel Sevillano, Managing Director of the Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí says, “For our Foundation, the respect for the work of Salvador Dalí is of utmost importance. We have found in Montegrappa the perfect partner to carry out this project, with the attention and care it merits.”
Since 1912, Montegrappa has been manufacturing high-quality writing instruments in the same historic building in Bassano del Grappa, North East Italy.