The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory
An oil on canvas re-creation of the artist’s famous 1931 work The Persistence of Memory,
it was originally known as The Chromosome of a Highly-coloured Fish’s Eye Starting the Harmonious Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, and first exhibited at the Carstairs Gallery in New York in 1954.
In this version, the landscape from the original work has been flooded with water. The plane and block from the original is now divided into brick-like shapes that float in relation to each other, with nothing binding them. These represent the breakdown of matter into atoms, a revelation in the age of quantum mechanics. Behind the bricks, the horns receding into the distance symbolise atomic missiles, highlighting that despite cosmic order, humanity could bring about its own destruction. The dead olive tree from which the soft watch hangs has also begun to break apart. The hands of the watches float above their dials, with several conical objects floating in parallel formations encircling the watches. A fourth melting watch has been added. The distorted human visage from the original painting is beginning to morph into another of the strange fish floating above it. To Dalí, however, the fish was a symbol of life.
Dalí had been greatly interested in nuclear physics since the first atomic bomb explosions of August 1945, and described the atom as his “favourite food for thought”. To Dalí, this image was symbolic of the new physics—the quantum world which exists as both particles and waves. The imagery of the original Persistence of Memory can be read as a representation of Einstein’s theory of relativity (although Dalí himself denied the connection to the theory), symbolizing the warping of spacetime by gravity. Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936) is a painting by Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí. Dali made this painting to represent the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Dali painted this 6 months before the Spanish Civil War had even begun and then claimed that he had known the war was going to happen in order to appear to have prophet-like abilities due to “the prophetic power of his subconscious mind.” Dali may have changed the name of the painting after the war in a manner of proving this prophetic quality, though it is not entirely certain.
This is a painting made with oil on canvas that is located in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dali painted it in 1936, but there were studies found of it that dated back to 1934. It is a picture of a geometric monster type creature and connected to a similar monster. The two creatures appear to be two parts of the same creature so that it appears to be wrestling itself. All over the background and on parts of the monster are boiled beans that look like they are melting. The monster stands on trees and a brown wooden box.
Salvador Dalí and the Spanish Civil War
Dalí and his wife, Gala, were trapped in the middle of a general strike and an armed uprising by Catalan separatists in 1934, in Catalonia, and this may have influenced his Spanish Civil War motif. Salvador and Gala had to run away to Paris, where they actually got married. Dalí and Gala had hired an escort to take them safely to Paris, but the escort died on his return because of the stresses of the Spanish Civl War. When Dalí had finally returned home, his house in Port Lligat was destroyed by the war. He was also greatly affected because his friend was executed in the war and his sister Ana Maria was imprisoned and tortured.
This painting expresses the destruction during the Spanish Civil War. The monster in this painting is self destructive just as a Civil War is.This painting is not meant to depict choosing sides although Dali had many reasons to choose sides in the Spanish Civil War. His sister was tortured and imprisoned by communist soldiers fighting for the Republic and his good friend from art school was murdered by a fascist firing squad Dali also made this painting look very realistic and yet continued to bring in surreal concepts. Although humans do not have the potential to look like the creatures in this painting, it retains a realistic feel, reminding the viewer of the levitity of the ideas behind it. Dali also brought ideas of tradition to this piece with a beautiful Catalonian sky, creating contrast to the idea of revolution. There are many boiled beans in this painting. Dali is quoted as saying the reason he included boiled beans was “one could not imagine swallowing all that unconscious meat without the presence of some mealy and melancholy vegetable.”By this he meant that there were many hardships in the war so the Spanish citizens had to do their best to deal with their problems. He played with themes of love, eating, and the war and how they are all related.
Dalí, Salvador (1904-89): Spanish painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and designer. After passing through phases of Cubism, Futurism and Metaphysical painting, he joined the Surrealists in 1929 and his talent for self-publicity rapidly made him the most famous representative of the movement. His paintings employed a meticulous academic technique that was contradicted by the unreal `dream’ space he depicted and by the strangely hallucinatory characters of his imagery. He described his pictures as `hand-painted dream photographs’ and had certain favorite and recurring images, such as the human figure with half-open drawers protruding from it, burning giraffes, and watches bent and flowing as if made from melting wax.
In 1937 Dalí visited Italy and adopted a more traditional style; this together with his political views (he was a supporter of General Franco) led Breton to expel him from the Surrealist ranks. He moved to the USA in 1940 and remained there until 1955. During this time he devoted himself largely to self-publicity; his paintings were often on religious themes (The Crucifixion of St John of the Cross, Glasgow Art Gallery, 1951), although sexual subjects and pictures centring on his wife Gala were also continuing preoccupations.
Apart from painting, Dalí’s output included sculpture, book illustration, jewellery design, and work for the theatre. In collaboration with the director Luis Buñuel he also made the first Surrealist films—Un chien andalou (1929) and L’Age d’or (1930)—and he contributed a dream sequence to Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945). He also wrote a novel, Hidden Faces (1944) and several volumes of flamboyant autobiography.
By 1929 Dali had found his personal style that should make him famous – the world of the unconscious that is recalled during our dreams. The surrealist theory is based on the theories of the psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud. Recurring images of burning giraffes and melting watches became the artist’s surrealist trademarks. His great craftsmanship allowed him to execute his paintings in a nearly photo-realistic style. No wonder that the artist was a great admirer of the Italian Renaissance painter Raphael.
In 1980 Dali was forced to retire due to palsy, a motor disorder, that caused a permanent trembling and weakness of his hands. He was not able to hold a brush any more. The fact that he could not follow his vocation and passion of painting and the news of Gala’s death in 1982 left him with deep depressions.
After Gala’s death he moved to Pubol, a castle, he had bought and decorated for Gala. In 1984, when he was lying in bed, a fire broke out and he suffered sever burns. Two years later, a pacemaker had to be implanted.
Towards the end of his life, Dali lived in the tower of his own museum where he died on January 23, 1989 from heart failure.
Some trends in Dalí’s work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s. Dalí devoured influences from many styles of art, ranging from the most academically classic, to the most cutting-edge avant garde. His classical influences included Raphael, Bronzino, Francisco de Zurbarán, Vermeer, and Velázquez. He used both classical and modernist techniques, sometimes in separate works, and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention along with mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics.
Late in his career, Dalí did not confine himself to painting, but experimented with many unusual or novel media and processes: he made bulletist works. Many of his works incorporated optical illusions, negative space, visual puns, and trompe l’oeil visual effects. He also experimented with pointillism, enlarged half-tone dot grids (which Roy Lichtenstein would later use), and stereoscopic images. He was among the first artists to employ holography in an artistic manner. In his later years, young artists such as Andy Warhol proclaimed Dalí an important influence on pop art.
Dalí also had a keen interest in natural science and mathematics. This is manifested in several of his paintings, notably from the 1950s, in which he painted his subjects as composed of rhinoceros horn shapes. According to Dalí, the rhinoceros horn signifies divine geometry because it grows in a logarithmic spiral. He also linked the rhinoceros to themes of chastity and to the Virgin Mary. Dalí was also fascinated by DNA and the tesseract (a 4-dimensional cube); an unfolding of a hypercube is featured in the painting Crucifixion (Corpus Hypercubus).
Dalí’s post–World War II period bore the hallmarks of technical virtuosity and an intensifying interest in optical effects, science, and religion. He became an increasingly devout Catholic, while at the same time he had been inspired by the shock of Hiroshima and the dawning of the “atomic age“. Therefore Dalí labeled this period “Nuclear Mysticism.” In paintings such as “The Madonna of Port Lligat” (first version) (1949) and “Corpus Hypercubus” (1954), Dalí sought to synthesize Christian iconography with images of material disintegration inspired by nuclear physics. “Nuclear Mysticism” included such notable pieces as La Gare de Perpignan (1965) and The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1968–70).
Gala died on June 10, 1982, at the age of 87. After Gala’s death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself, possibly as a suicide attempt, or perhaps in an attempt to put himself into a state of suspended animation as he had read that some microorganisms could do. He moved from Figueres to the castle in Púbol, which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death.
Dalí employed extensive symbolism in his work. For instance, the hallmark “soft watches” that first appear in The Persistence of Memory suggest Einstein‘s theory that time is relative and not fixed. The idea for clocks functioning symbolically in this way came to Dalí when he was staring at a runny piece of Camembert cheese on a hot August day.
The elephant is also a recurring image in Dalí’s works. It first appeared in his 1944 work Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening. The elephants, inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini‘s sculpture base in Rome of an elephant carrying an ancient obelisk,are portrayed “with long, multijointed, almost invisible legs of desire” along with obelisks on their backs. Coupled with the image of their brittle legs, these encumbrances, noted for their phallic overtones, create a sense of phantom reality. “The elephant is a distortion in space”, one analysis explains, “its spindly legs contrasting the idea of weightlessness with structure.”I am painting pictures which make me die for joy, I am creating with an absolute naturalness, without the slightest aesthetic concern, I am making things that inspire me with a profound emotion and I am trying to paint them honestly.” —Salvador Dalí, in Dawn Ades, Dalí and Surrealism.
The egg is another common Dalíesque image. He connects the egg to the prenatal and intrauterine, thus using it to symbolize hope and love; it appears in The Great Masturbator and The Metamorphosis of Narcissus. The Metamorphosis of Narcissus also symbolized death and petrification.
Various other animals appear throughout his work as well: ants point to death, decay, and immense sexual desire; the snail is connected to the human head (he saw a snail on a bicycle outside Freud’s house when he first met Sigmund Freud); and locusts are a symbol of waste and fear.
References to Dalí in the context of science are made in terms of his fascination with the paradigm shift that accompanied the birth of quantum mechanics in the twentieth century. Inspired by Werner Heisenberg‘s Uncertainty Principle, in 1958 he wrote in his “Anti-Matter Manifesto”: “In the Surrealist period, I wanted to create the iconography of the interior world and the world of the marvelous, of my father Freud. Today, the exterior world and that of physics has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr. Heisenberg.”
Endeavors outside painting
Dalí was a versatile artist. Some of his more popular works are sculptures and other objects, and he is also noted for his contributions to theatre, fashion, and photography, among other areas.
Besides visual puns, Dalí shared in the surrealist delight in verbal puns, obscure allusions, and word games. He often spoke in a bizarre combination of French, Spanish, Catalan, and English which was sometimes amusing as well as arcane.