Gustave Doré was a French artist, as a printmaker, illustrator, painter, comics artist, caricaturist, and sculptor. He is best known for his prolific output of wood-engravings, especially those illustrating classic books, including 241 illustrating the Bible. These achieved great international success, and he is the best known artist in this printmaking technique, although his role was normally as the designer only; at the height of his career some 40 block-cutters were employed to cut his drawings onto the wooden printing blocks, usually also signing the image.
Paul Gustave Louis Christophe Doré (UK: /ˈdɔːreɪ/ DOR-ay, US: /dɔːˈreɪ/ dor-AY, French: [ɡystav dɔʁe]; 6 January 1832 – 23 January 1883)
In all he created some 10,000 illustrations, the most important of which were “duplicated in electrotype shells that were printed … on cylinder presses”, allowing very large print runs as steel engravings, “hypnotizing the widest public ever captured by a major illustrator”, and being published simultaneously in many countries. The drawings given to the block-cutters were often surprisingly sketch-like and free.
Although he lacked the usual training in an academy, his paintings were successful during his lifetime, but at least his early paintings of religious and mythological subjects, some extremely large, now tend to be regarded as “grandiloquent and of little merit”. From the late 1860s onwards, he painted smaller landscapes and costumed genre scenes.