Sunday, December 05, 2004


Saturday, December 04, 2004

Classical influences are again most prevalent in this Masterwork. Dalí had many times painted still life works such as tabletops filled with fruit, fish or bread. But this work is particularly important because it shows some of these objects in motion, suggesting Dalí's themes of Nuclear Mysticism.
The knife in the center of the painting divides the work into several perfect sections, another reference to Dalí's obsession with classical methodology. The fruits in the upper right hand portion of the work are all in nuclear motion, as are one of the fruit bowls and the water spilling out of the decanter. A hand holds a rhinoceros horn on the left hand side of the work, while a cauliflower floret dominates the upper right hand section. All of these objects suggest the natural spiral shapes with which Dalí had become so obsessed.
The small, colorful bits in the lower center of the work represent, according to Dalí, the bits of matter that are left over from when he painted this work. Taken as a whole, this piece is an in-depth examination of the tenets expounded upon Dalí in his theories of Divisionism and Nuclear Mysticism. Dalí asserted that all matter was not at all like it seemed, but instead had attributes that even he was only able to guess at. As nuclear physics continued to mature, Dalí was somewhat 'vindicated' in these beliefs, once the true nature of matter began to be unveiled.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Lapis-lazuli Corpuscular Assumption repeats several of the images seen in Raphaelesque Head Exploding (1951). The outline of the Pantheon can be seen, the top of which acts as a halo to Gala's head. Like the Madonna, Gala is exploding, her body delineated by the rhinoceros horns that swirl about the painting.
Above an altar is the figure of the crucified Christ. The model for Christ was a boy from Cadaqués called Juan whom the Dalís were very close to, treating him like an adopted son. The boy's body forms a triangle, a shape repeated by Gala's arms and head above. Dalí had a glass floor put in his studio so that he could look up or down on his models in order to recreate this perspective.
Dalí saw this painting as an interpretation of the philosopher Nietzsche's idea of natural strength, although here we have Gala as a "superwoman", ascending to heaven through her own innate force. In a later explanation of the work, Dalí wrote that Gala was rising to heaven with the aid of "anti-matter Angels". The painting can be interpreted as Gala's body either disintegrating or integrating.

Friday, November 26, 2004

This painting can be considered as a companion piece to another work that Dalí had done many years before, namely The Persistence of Memory in which Dalí initially created the scene on which this painting is based.
The ochre colored plain of the ground, has been divided up into cubic shaped blocks, and the addition of the rhinoceros horns in the upper left-hand portion of the painting also refers to Dalí's fascination with the molecular world. The melting watches and landscape of Cadaqués make another appearance herein, and the addition of the fish serves as a witness to the event.
Dalí created this painting as a continuation of his themes of Nuclear Mysticism by applying a perspective of Divisionism to the original painting. Dalí painted this work to explore the effects of nuclear weaponry, asserting that the invention of such weaponry had a profound effect upon everyone on the planet, even those in the small fishing villages along the coastline of Spain.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Dalí painted the portrait of his genial compatriot in California. It is interesting to compare it with his own Soft Self-Portrait with Grilled Bacon, painted six years earlier in the same place.
This portrait might be entitled Official Paranoiac Portrait of Pablo Picasso, because Dalí has assembled here all the folkloric elements that anecdotally depict the origins of the Andalusian painter. His renown is affirmed by his bust mounted on a pedestal, symbol of official consecration; the breasts depict Picasso's nutritious aspect while he carries on his head the heavy rock of the responsibility for the influence of his work on contemporary painting. The face itself is a mixture of a goat hoof and the headdress of the Greco-Iberian marble bust, the Lady of Elche, which brings to mind Andalusian and Malagan origins of Picasso. The Iberian folklore is finished off with a carnation, a jasmine flower, and the guitar. Speaking about the work of this Titan shortly after his death, Dalí said: "I believe that the magic in Picasso's work is romantic, in other words, the root of its upheaval, while mine can only be done by building on tradition. I am totally different from Picasso since he was not interested in beauty, but in ugliness and I, more and more, in beauty; but ugly beauty and beautiful beauty, in extreme cases of geniuses like Picasso and me, can be of an angelic type."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Jour de la Vierge (Day of the Virgin) was painted in 1947, while Dalí and Gala were still living in the USA. Although the Second World War had been over for two years, they did not return to Spain or France until the following year. Under the dedication, Dalí has signed the painting as Salvador Dalí of Figueras.
In keeping with his religious subjects of the Forties and Fifties, this painting is of the Virgin Mary, this time in a traditional pose and holding baby Jesus in her arms. The Virgin Mary's face has also been painted in a traditional manner, with a calm, peaceful expression on her face, her eyes closed, smiling down at the baby Jesus. The traditional techniques and pose employed in Jour de la Vierge contrast with the later painting of The Sistine Madonna (1958).
The background of the painting is drawn in brown ink, a medium that Dalí often used. The landscape is that of Port Lligat, Dalí's home for many years. The Virgin Mary is painted in watercolor, her face, which reflects the colors of the stones that she stands upon, contrasts with the vivid blue of her dress, while this is mirrored in the one childlike cloud above her.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Intra-Atomic Balance of a Swan's Feather, painted in 1947, like the painting Dematerialization Near the Nose of Nero, also painted in 1947, marks Dalí's interest in the emerging field of nuclear science and physics. This new interest was combined with his reawakened religious beliefs to produce what he termed "nuclear mysticism". The atomic bombings of Japan at the end of the Second World War had catalysed his conversion to this "nuclear mysticism". Since then, Dalí had been subscribing to scientific journals to ensure that he was aware of new developments within the scientific community. He wrote that since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, "the atom was my favorite food for thought".
Intra-Atomic Balance of a Swan's Feather is Dalí's interpretation of the splitting of the particles within atoms, and the forces of attraction and repulsion. In the painting, ten objects, some related some not, appear frozen, suspended in the air in front of a stone background. The swan's feather of the title floats down the painting, while above is the swans' head and to the left, its foot. The central image of the hand is painted realistically, the fingers reaching toward an inkwell beneath it.