Salvador Dali; now there’s a dreamer if this Spaniard's art is any indication!
Most would agree Dali was one of the greatest when it came to surrealist art.
I’m certainly not much of a surrealist artist, either. No dreams (at least any I can recall in the morning) to fuel my creativity.
Recurring images of burning giraffes and melting watches became Dali’s surrealist trademarks. The man was obsessed with physics: molecules and matter, space and time, particularly history and clocks.
Ah, yes, the man was definitely high on himself. How he got there, no one will ever really know.
During a recent visit to St. Petersburg’s stunning Dali Museum (more on this west coast Florida gem in a moment), I found Dali's paintings both creepy and beautiful; many were reminiscent of macabre photographs from some alien universe, the detail and clarity amazing given the medium, oil on canvas.
Dali, an academically trained and technically brilliant 20th century painter was the master of shock and unease. Ya think! He was obsessed with themes of eroticism. No comment! Early in his career, in the 1920s, he painted bodies, bones, and symbolic objects that reflected sexualized fears of father figures and impotence; he also frequently incorporated ants to symbolize the decay that follows the inevitable, death. I can deal with ants; snakes are another thing altogether. Freud would have a field day with me!
Dali’s surrealist dreamscapes were not all nightmares, though. I rather liked his The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. In his homage to Spain, commissioned by Huntington Hartford for the opening of the Museum Gallery of Modern Art on Columbus Circle in New York in 1959, Dali covered history, religion, art, and myth with his usual flair. Granted it took a very large 14 feet by 9 feet canvas to cover it all adequately.
Then there was The Hallucinogenic Toreador, another extremely large canvas. Dali’s technique combines a dreamlike blur with startling clarity to create a bullfighter embedded in the Venus de Milo figures. Look for the bullfighter’s nose and mouth and chin defined by the Venus de Milo statue, second from the right. Can you see the bullfighter’s green tie; the red cape; the sequins; the montera/hat?
No? Okay, how about this version?
Tomorrow, a closer look at that phenomenal fortress on Florida's hurricane-prone west coast, the Dali painting that started it all, and fifteen minutes of fame.
Meanwhile, sweet dreams.