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



 

   
 


Female Bodies as a Skull.
Photograph: Philippe Halsman, 1951, after a drawing by Dali

 


Female Bodies as a Skull.
Photograph: Philippe Halsman, 1951, after a drawing by Dali


 

Female Bodies as a Skull.
Photograph: Philippe Halsman, 1951, after a drawing by Dali


 
 


Human skull consisting of seven naked women's bodies
Photograph: Philippe Halsman, 1951, after a drawing by Dali

 

 


Raphael's Atomic Explosion
 

In general, Dali's endeavour was to paint an image of modern times in the manner of the great old masters he so deeply admired, with improvements of his own. It was an attempt expressed in his distinctive synthesis of atomic mysticism and classicism, a synthesis which he described in the Mystical Manifesto (1951) and which was to influence all his subsequent work.

It would be wrong, however, to claim that any clear break was made with the earlier work; in fact, neither his technique nor his paranoiac-critical method changed in any real way. If an alteration can be detected, it is in his subject matter. In this connection we do well to bear in mind that Dali's mysticism was inseparable from erotic deliria. "Eroticism is the royal road of the spirit of God," he declared. If the new man of God relished "the most delicious behinds one can imagine", then he was as likely to paint Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by her Own Chastity as a Madonna, a Christ, or the exploded head of a Raphaelesque saint.

 

 


Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity
1954

 

 

Dali's continuity within his own oeuvre is very clearly apparent in his Madonnas and Christs. All the geological characteristics of Port Lligat, he declared, referring to The Madonna of Port Lligat, were present in The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition or Leda Atomica. But now he had created a tabernacle of living flesh, a thing of sublimation that revealed the heavenly spheres and in which the Christ Child sat at the centre, the bread of the Eucharist suspended at his heart. Similarly, the Christ of St. John of the Cross drew upon the technical and artistic resources Dali had so masterfully demonstrated in Basket of Bread. When the Museum of Glasgow bought the painting in 1952, Dali explained in a letter to Scottish Art Review (Vol. IV no. 1,1952): "One of the first objections to this painting came from the position of the Christ, that is, the angle of the vision and the tilting forward of the head. This objection from the religious point of view fails from the fact that my picture was inspired by the drawing made of the Crucifixion by St. John of the Cross himself. In my opinion, it is a drawing made by this saint after an Ecstasy as it is the only drawing ever made by him. This drawing so impressed me the first time I saw it that later in California, in a dream, I saw the Christ in the same position, but in the landscape of Port Lligat, and I heard voices which told me, 'Dali, you must paint this Christ.' The next day I started the painting. Until the very moment I started the composition, I had the intention of putting in all the attributes of the Crucifixion - the nails, the crown of thorns, etc. - and it was my intention to change the blood into red carnations which would have hung from the hands and feet, along with three jasmine flowers issuing from the wound in the side. These flowers would have been executed in the ascetic manner of Zurbaran. But a second dream, just towards the completion of my painting, changed all this, and also perhaps the unconscious influence of a Spanish proverb which says, 'A bad Christ, too much blood'. In this second dream I saw again my picture without the anecdotal attributes but just the metaphysical beauty of Christ-God. I also first had the intention of taking as models for the landscape the fishermen of Port Lligat, but in this dream, in place of the fishermen of Port Lligat, there appeared in a boat a figure of a French peasant painted by Le Nain of which the face alone had been changed to resemble a fisherman of Port Lligat. Nevertheless, the fisherman, seen from the back, had a Velazquezian silhouette.

 

 
Christ of Saint John of the Cross
1951


 
 
Asummpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina
1952


 
 
Arithmosophic Cross
1952


 
 
Nuclear Cross
1952


 
 
Christ in Perspective
1950


 
 
Study for "Christ of St. John of the Cross"
1951


 
 
Crucifixion
1954


 
 
Crucifixion ('Corpus Hypercubus')
1954


 
 
The Angel Cross
1954
 

 

 

My aesthetic ambition, in this picture, was completely the opposite of all the Christs painted by most of the modern painters, who have all interpreted Him in the expressionistic and contortionistic sense, thus obtaining emotion through ugliness. My principal preoccupation was that my Christ would be beautiful as the God that He is. In artistic texture and technique, I painted the Christ of St. John of the Cross in the manner in which I had painted my Basket of Bread, which even then, more or less unconsciously, represented the Eucharist for me.

The geometrical construction of the canvas, especially the triangle in which Christ is delineated, was arrived at through the laws of Divine Proporzione by Luca Pacioli."

Though the great difference between Picasso and Dali (at least according to the latter) was that Picasso's labours were devoted to ugliness and Dali's to beauty, one thing is clear: both artists pushed back the frontiers of art with dramatic assurance. Raphaelesque Head, Exploded is a fine example of Dali's peculiar approach to pushing them back. J. P. Hodin, in "A Madonna Motif in the Work of Munch and Dali" (The Art Quarterly, 16, summer 1953), observed: "In contemporary painting it was Picasso who first demonstrated... broken forms in the period of analytical cubism. This disintegrated form symbolizes the end of an idealistic notion, that of the Virgin Mary. But Dali does not suffer as Munch did. He is a cold observer of fact. Moreover, the inner volume of the head represents in Raphaelesque Head, Exploded a Renaissance cupola. It is evident that what is here burst is not only an individual ideal but a whole cultural edifice.
 

 
Raphaelesque Head Exploding
1951

 
 
The Wheelbarrows
1951

 
 
Galatea of the Spheres
1952

 
 
Exploding Head
1952

 
 
Head of a Gray Angel
1952

 
 
Nuclear Head of an Angel
1952

 

 
Study for the Head of the Virgin
1952

 
 
Head Bombarded with Grains of Wheat
(Particle Head Over the Village of Cadaques)
1954


 


Opposition
1952

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