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



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




Paths to Immortality  



Every Tuesday the master gave some fifty students free tuition and corrected their sketches




The Temple of Eroticism

In this temple of eroticism and mysticism, the divine has entered into an alliance with lust, taken with a pinch... not of salt, ironic though it is, but of the choice painterly technique of a Velazquez. Dali asserted that he gave depth to his own mysticism by compounding it with erotic delirium. Eroticism, he had said, is the royal road to the soul of God, and his museum proved that his principle was truer than ever. In his book The Erotic Metamorphoses, a selection of drawings done between 1940 and 1968, Dali said that the greatest difference between eroticism and pornography was arguably, or indeed certainly, that eroticism was divine by nature and brought happiness, whereas pornography proceeded from the abasement of humanity and brought only misfortune. The Romans, he noted, were well aware of this distinction, and in Latin one meaning of obscenus was "ominous". Eroticism was on the side of the wealthy. It was on the side of the gods and the eagles! The pornographer, by contrast, was a poor creature much like the tortoise, destined to be crushed sooner or later. The pornographer (in Dali's account) had a prematurely aged reptilian face; he was an obscene, shameless, bald, heated cripple who stood at street corners offering dirty pictures held in a tortoise claw which barely reached out from the filthy armour of his jacket. Eros, however, the God of Love, stood up straight, his arm raised to Heaven, his proud phallic quiver slung from his immaculate alabaster-white neck. That quiver, full of the arrows of semen, Dali went on, was one of the most sublime, majestic attributes of angels and eagles in all religions, of those destined to crush the armour of filthy tortoises. They were the Ganymedes, and despised dildos.

With Dali we can never be certain of the women are plastic,
as in the Teatro Museo Dali,
or flesh and blood,as here in the Hotel Meurice, 1973


Les Metamorphoses Erotiques

Illustration for Dali's book "Les Metamorphoses Erotiques" (The Erotic Metamorphoses), published in 1969.


Emblem of Wounded Pride


Tap (Grill)

Untitled (Erotic Scene with Seven Figures)





Le Cadre

Le Chat










Le Voyageur



Pomona, Autumn


Dali drawing "Pomona, Autumn"

Three Hyper-Realist Graces (Anti-Racism)


According to Roger Peyrefitte, Dali's invariably well-informed housekeeper, Dali had a large collection of dildos which he would offer to his models of either sex when he had a little indulgence in mind. Some of these dildos irreverently had the heads of unexpected people on their shafts: the Pope, Hitler, St. Teresa of Avila, de Gaulle, and others. Dali also liked to refer to the male member as "the limousine". Dining with pop singer Amanda Lear at Maxim's, he observed that, to judge by his nose, the gentleman at the next table must have a big limousine. In Cadaques, Dali liked visiting a young man whose erect member was reputed to be so hard that one could crack nuts open on it. Things of this kind aroused Dali's admiration. He compared the vagina to a cauliflower and commented that it was Nature's ruse to ensure reproduction, but that the true organ of love was the anus. In the vagina one might poke about without really knowing what one was up to, but in the arsehole there was no room for any such uncertainty. Dali made these observations in a conversation recorded for French television (though of course it was never broadcast), and declared roundly: "The most important thing in the world is the arsehole." For Dali, the body no longer had any secrets. He had devised a special procedure (which interested Roger Peyrefitte greatly) to ensure that a woman on all fours would present her anus to greatest advantage: he would place a spirit level on her back, and when the air bubble was precisely in the middle, he claimed, her anus would flower in its full glory. On occasions, he would ask female visitors to sit on a bed of moist clay with their buttocks parted, in order to take an impression of their orifices. He would subsequently frame the impressions, adding the names of the ladies in question. Supposedly -and this again demonstrates Dali's tirelessly investigative cast of mind - the anus has thirty-five or thirty-seven little creases which are as unique as fingerprints. He regretted that he could not account for the variation in number, but noted that it had nothing to do with social class, and that thirty-fives were as likely to be found among the aristocracy as among the working classes. Only the backsides of identical twins had exactly the same pattern and number of creases. He conducted experiments to substantiate his claim, and made the impressions of twins' behinds into candelabra.

"The Wines of Gala and of God" ("Les Vins de Gala et du Divin")


"The Wines of Gala and of God" ("Les Vins de Gala et du Divin")
Los vinos de Gala


"The Wines of Gala and of God" ("Les Vins de Gala et du Divin")



The fact is that Dali scarcely made a single sculpture or objet d'art that did not have a hidden erotic meaning - as the Surrealists, whom he tricked on more than one occasion, learned to their cost. Lilith, a painted plaster sculpture done in homage to Raymond Roussel, with hairpins and two bronze equestrian figures by Meissonier, has female genitals made of hairpins at the centre. The untitled Object for Gala, a spider crab's shell with inlaid cut agate, and Gala's face painted on it, is surely reminiscent of the female genitals. The Chair with the Wings of a Vulture is a whole erotic ballet of a sculpture. And Otorhinological Head of Venus, a monstrosity dear to Dali with an ear at the tip of its nose and a nose where its ear should be, is evidently making available, in a novel manner, all of its orifices to the penetrating rhinoceros horn covered by the Death Mask of Napoleon. Incidentally, the base of Napoleon's sarcophagus, in Dali's view, was eloquent of imperialist power, to the highest degree. (The one reproduced here is inscribed on the base: "For Monsieur Georges Pompidou, President of the Republic of France, with the respect of Salvador Dali.") The otorhinological head of Venus went back to Dali's conviction that birth was possible by non-vaginal budding, as in "Pantagruel" or in certain rites of the Cathari.


Lilith (Homage to Raymond Roussel)
Genitals made of hairpins

The writer Raymond Roussel had a powerful influence on the Surrealists,
and particularly on Dali.

Object for Gala


Chair with the Wings of a Vulture

A playful object that might be used for cultic or erotic purposes

Otorhinological Head of Venus


Death Mask of Napoleon

Death Mask of Napoleon - Can Be Used as a Cover for a Rhinoceros



For another sculpture, in the shape of an immense ear, Dali placed an entire litter of tiny babies in the hollow. Even the most bizarre of Dali's ideas could turn out to have been meant seriously; and those that appeared to have been in deadly earnest might be no more than silly, childish jokes. Whenever Dali reached orgasm, he said, he cried out aloud: "I have lost my seed!" And indeed, the sexual act represented to Dali not delight so much as a waste of his talent. And he would always announce that he was impatiently waiting for a large cheque so that he could load up again.


Christ Twisted



"Painting," he declared, "like love, goes in at the eyes and flows out by the hairs of the brush. My erotic delirium compels me to take my sodomitic tendencies to the heights of paroxysm." There was no stopping this Dali. The man of God saw to it that he was surrounded by "the most delicious behinds one can imagine. I persuade the most beautiful of women to undress. I always say the greatest mysteries can be penetrated via the behind, and I have even discovered a profound correspondence between the buttocks of one of the women who visited me at Port Lligat and undressed for me and the space-time continuum, which I have named the continuum of the four buttocks (incidentally, this continuum is simply the representation of an atom). I think up the most delectable and insane of positions in order to maintain a paroxysmal erection, and I am totally happy if I can be present at a successful act of sodomy. For me, everything that matters happens via the eye. I managed to talk a young Spanish woman into allowing a neighbourhood youth who was courting her to sodomize her. Together with a girlfriend (the audience are important in my theatre, and play the role of accountants, so to speak), I sit on a divan. The woman and the youth enter by different doors: she is naked beneath a dressing gown, he is unclothed and his member erect. He immediately turns her round and sets about entering her. He does it so rapidly that I get up to check that he is not just pretending, since I don't want to be made a fool of. Then she shouts out ecstatically: 'This is for Dali, for the divine Dali!' I don't care for the expression, because I can see how ill-founded it is - particularly since this strong youth is passionately working away in the Spanish girl's behind and she is groaning with pleasure. I say: 'Do you admit that you love the man who's inside your arse?' She instantly stops play-acting and cries out: 'Yes, I worship him!' And then I saw the most astounding thing one can imagine as an expression of phenomenal beauty: the young woman held firmly by the hips and impaled on the man raised her arms and reached behind her, which also lifted her magnificent breasts. At the same time she turned her head back and her lips touched those of the man who was putting her through this exquisite torment. It was a perfect gesture in its way, and transformed the animal couple into a liana, conveying an angelic vision. I have never been able to tell this story without the wonderful feeling that I had revealed the secret of perfect beauty."

Dali confessed: "I spend considerable amounts on dinners, presents, dresses and entertainment to achieve my ends, to fascinate my protagonists and make them submissive to me. Sometimes the preliminaries take months, and I put together the pieces of my jigsaw with great care. I devise the most artful of perversions, I foist my weird notions on others, I talk people into doing the craziest things and they agree unconditionally." And: "... my only problem is choice. I fish a vast pond in New York or Paris where a hundred women of the world [...] are forever at the ready to obey my whims - not to mention the high-class professionals, whom I call the danieles and whom I occasionally use as a stopgap." And finally: "Eroticism, hallucinogenic drugs, nuclear science, Gaudi's Gothic architecture, my love of gold — there is a common denominator in all of it: God is present in everything. The same magic is at the heart of all things, and all roads lead to the same revelation: we are children of God, and the entire universe tends towards the perfection of mankind."


Les Amours Jaunes, The Golden Loves












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