Art of the 20th Century



 



Art Styles in 20th century Art Map



 

   

 

 

 

 



Salvador Dali




If You Act the Genius, You Will Be One!  1910-1928
The Proof of Love  1929-1935
The Conguest of the Irrational 1936-1939
The Triumph of Avida Dollars  1939-1946
The Mystical Manifesto  1946-1962
Paths to Immortality  1962-1989

_______

appendix

Illustrations:
Biblia Sacrata, Marquis de Sade, Faust, The Art of Love,
Don Quixote, Divine Comedy, Decameron,
Casanova, Les Caprices de Goya

 


 


 
 

 



The Mystical Manifesto


 

1946-1962


 

 


Dali
 

 

 

Phallic Swans and Radiant Virgins
 

The first pictures in the new series were the two versions of The Madonna of Port Lligat; he showed the smaller version to Pope Pius XII on 23 November 1949. Dali also produced a hundred illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy. A particularly fine product of his mystical, ecstatic approach was the well-known Christ of St. John of the Cross. The Royal Heart, made of gold and rubies, is Dali's arresting response to a remembered question his mother asked: "Dear heart, what do you want?"

The new Dali was derided - particularly by the Surrealists. In the new edition of his Anthology of Black Humour, Breton wrote: "It can be taken for granted that these remarks apply only to the early Dali, who disappeared around 1935 and has been replaced by the personality who is better known by the name of Avida Dollars, a society portrait painter who recently returned to the bosom of the Catholic church and to the 'artistic ideal of the Renaissance', and who nowadays quotes letters of congratulation and the approval of the Pope." On the other hand, there were others who took the new Dali very seriously, and they included critics whose opinions carried weight.

 

 


The Madonna of Port Lligat (first version)
1949

 

 
The Madonna of Port Lligat (second version)
1950

 
 
The Madonna of Port Lligat
(detail)
1950

 
 
Cork (study for "The Madonna of Port Lligat")
1950

 
 


Study for "The Madonna of Port Lligat"
1949

 


Study for head of "Madonna of Port Lligat"
1950

 


Study for the child in "The Madonna of Port Lligat"
1950
 


Metamorphosis and Dynamic Disintegration
of a Cuttlefish Bone Becoming Gala
(study for "The Madonna of Port Lligat")
1950

 


Study after "Madonna and Child"
by Piero Della Francesca
for "The Madonna of Port Lligat"
1950
 

 

Father Bruno Froissart wrote: "Salvador Dali has told me that nothing has as stimulating an effect on him as the idea of the angel. Dali wanted to paint heaven, to penetrate the heavens in order to communicate with God. For him, God is an intangible idea, impossible to render in concrete terms. Dali is of the opinion that He is perhaps the substance being sought by nuclear physics. He does not see God as cosmic; as he said to me, that would be limiting. He sees this as a thought process contradictory within itself, one which cannot be summarized in a uniform concept of structure. At heart a Cataloman, Dali needs tactile forms, and 'that applies to angels, too'... If he has been preoccupied with the Assumption of the Virgin Mary for some time now, it is, as he explains, because she went to heaven 'by the power of the angels'... Dali conceives protons and neutrons as 'angelic elements'; for, as he puts it, in the heavenly bodies there are 'leftovers of substance, because certain beings strike me as being so close to angels, such as Raphael or St. John of the Cross'."

 

 
Erotic Beach
1950

 
 
Landscape of Port Lligat with Homely Angels and Fisherman
1950

 
 
Landscape of Port Lligat
1950

 

 

Jean-Louis Ferrier wrote an entire book, Leda atomica — Anatomie d'un chef d'ceuvre, about Dali's painting Leda Atomica. Ferrier compares it with other artists' treatments of the story of Leda: "Erotic 18th century engravings and graffiti provide a key to the myth of Leda; Zeus is metamorphosed into a phallus with wings, the better to seduce the wife of Tyndareus. This is the underlying meaning of the myth, and it is one that remains concealed throughout traditional art. But Dali reverses this meaning in Leda Atomica. The myth now means the exact opposite; for the state of levitation in which we see the woman and the swan stands for purity and sublimation. Seen in this way, Leda Atomica introduces Dali's religious period... In Western art, down to Poussin and Moreau, the myth of Leda has always been represented without significant change. But in Moreau the swan, laying its head upon Leda's, occupies the place normally reserved for the Holy Ghost.

 

Like Dali, Moreau was seeing the myth of Leda in terms of initiation ritual and psychoanalysis." Ferrier hit the nail on the head: "The Dali delirium will seem less of a delirium if we grasp that basically he is trying to introduce into everyday life the archetypes that constitute the true categories of thought - which Kant, writing a century and a half before psychoanalysis, could not know. Jung was a pioneer when he lamented the terrible lack of symbols in the world at that time." Ferrier ends by saying: "Salvador Dali differs from most modern painters in his extraordinary virtuosity, which consists in a direct continuation of classical austerity. The artist's painstaking craftsmanship goes hand in hand with a polymorphous grasp of culture which includes traditional disciplines of knowledge as well as contemporary science and the findings of various types of psychoanalysis for nearly a century now. These things together are vital to the meaning of his art."

 

 


"La Turbie" - Sir James Dunn Seated
1949

 

 

All of Dali's works are strictly mathematical in conception. The floating state of the figures and objects in his paintings at this time related not only to the Golden Section and contemporary physics, but also to Dali's spiritual development. Dali, dualist as ever in his approach, was now claiming to be both an agnostic and a Roman Catholic.

Dali attributed his twofold habits of perception to the death of his brother (before his own birth). His parents gave Dali the same name as his dead brother, Salvador: "An unconscious crime, made the more serious by the fact that in my parents' room - a tempting, mysterious, awe-inspiring place to which access was prohibited and which I contemplated with divided feelings - a majestic photograph of my dead brother hung beside a reproduction of Velazquez's Crucifixon.

 

And that picture of the Saviour, whom Salvador had doubtless followed on his angelic ascension to heaven, established an archetype within me that arose out of the four Salvadors who made a corpse of me - the more so, since I began to look as much like my dead brother as I looked like my reflection in the mirror. I thought myself dead before I became really aware that I was alive... My preferred psychiatrist, Pierre Roumeguere, assures me that my forced identification with a dead person meant that my true image of my own body was of a decaying, rotting, soft, wormy corpse. And it is quite right that ray earliest memories of true and powerful existence are connected with death... My sexual obsessions are all linked to soft bulges: I dream of corpse-like shapes, elongated breasts, runny flesh — and crutches, which were soon to play the part of holy objects for me, were indispensable in my dreams and subsequently in my paintings, too. Crutches propped up my weak notion of reality, which was constantly escaping me through holes that I even cut in my nurse's back. The crutch is not only a support: the forked end is an indication of ambivalence."

 

 


Future Martyr of Supersonic Waves
1949

 

 

Thus the dualism or ambivalence that underpins so much of Dali's life and work began with the death of his brother before his own birth; continued in the merging of Vermeer with the logarithmic, mathematically self-perpetuating spiral; and informed his love for Gala, his "legitimate, scented wife", his new doppelganger, his muse, his Helen of Troy, his lacemaker, his "Nietzschean rhinoceros forever struggling for power". Dali stated: "Gala gave me a structure that was lacking in my life, in the truest sense of the word. I existed solely in a sack full of holes, soft and blurred, always looking for a crutch. By squeezing up close to Gala, I acquired a backbone, and by loving her I filled out my own skin. My seed had always been lost in masturbation until then, thrown away into the void, as it were. With Gala I won it back and was given new life through it. At first I thought she was going to devour me, but in fact she taught me to eat reality. In signing my pictures 'Gala-Dali' I was simply giving a name to an existential truth, for without my twin, Gala, I would not exist any more."

For the creator of the soft watches, Dali and Gala were the incarnations of the Dioscuri, the heavenly twins born of Leda's divine egg: "Castor and Pollux, the stereochemical divine twins ", was how Dali referred to the antecedents of himself and his "twin", Gala. And in acquiring a twin, he also "had two memories instead of one, perhaps even three, for the same price, which can only compound the immortality of memory." It is understandable enough that when one of the twins, Gala, died in 1982, the other felt abysmally lonely - the lacemaker without the rhinoceros...

 

 


The Creation of Eve - Gaining Twofold Living Nature from the Sleep of Man
1950

 

 

One of Dali's best known pictures is the Christ of St. John of the Cross. The figure appears above the bay at Port Lligat. Compositionally, the figure of Christ was inspired by a drawing St. John of the Cross had done while in ecstasy and which is in the keeping of the monastery at Avila. The figures beside the boat were borrowed from a picture by Le Nain and a drawing Velazquez did for his painting The Surrender of Breda. Dali said: "It began in 1950 with a cosmic dream I had, in which I saw the picture in colour. In my dream it represented the nucleus of the atom. The nucleus later acquired a metaphysical meaning: I see the unity of the universe in it - Christ! Secondly, thanks to Father Bruno, a Carmelite monk, I saw the figure of Christ drawn by St. John of the Cross; I devised a geometrical construct comprising a triangle and a circle, the aesthetic sum total of all my previous experience, and put my Christ inside the triangle." When the painting was first exhibited in London, an influential critic damned it as banal. And some years later it was badly damaged by a fanatic in the Glasgow Art Gallery.

 

 



 


Set design for the ballet "Los Sacos Del Molinero"
1949


 

Set design for the ballet "Los Sacos Del Molinero"
1949


 

Set design for the ballet "Los Sacos Del Molinero"
1949


 

Set design for the ballet
"Los Sacos Del Molinero"
1949

 

Set design for the ballet "Los Sacos Del Molinero"
1949

 

Four Armchairs in the Sky
1949

 


Lago di Garda
1949


 

May
1949


 

Naples
1949


 

Rome
1949


 

Backdrop for "Don Juan Tenorio"
1950


 

Design for the death scene in "Don Juan Tenorio"
1950


 

Dali's Moustache
1950


 

Study for a Backdrop
1950


 

The Judgement of Paris
1950


 

Kneeling Figure (Microphysical Phosphenes)
1950


 

The Soft Watch
1950


 

Angel (Study)
1950


 

Ascent into the Sky
1950


 

Rhinoceros Disintegrating
1950

 

Discuss Art

Please note: site admin does not answer any questions. This is our readers discussion only.

 
| privacy