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10 Salvador Dalí’s Artworks that will Surprise You

Selección de algunas obras destacadas de Salvador Dalí.

For this article we have made a selection of 10 of the most outstanding works of the surrealist painter par excellence, Salvador Dalí

Dalí’s work is very extensive, as he was a very prolific artist. That is why we have selected what we consider his most emblematic works and some of our favorites

La persistencia de la memoria es quizás el cuadro más famoso de Salvador Dalí.

The Persistence of Memory (in Catalan: La persistència de la memòria) is a 1931 painting by artist Dalí and one of the most recognized works of surrealism.

First exhibited at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932, since 1934 the painting has been in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, which received it from an anonymous donor.

It is widely recognized and frequently referred to in popular culture, and is sometimes referred to by more descriptive titles, such as“The Melting Clocks” or “The Soft Clocks.”

Dalí takes up the theme of this painting with the variation The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory , which shows his famous earlier work systematically fragmenting into smaller component elements, and a series of rectangular blocks that reveal more images through the gaps between them, implying that there is something beneath the surface of the original work; this work is now in the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, while the original Persistence of Memory remains in the Museum of Modern Art in New York

Dalí also produced several lithographs and sculptures on the theme of soft watches late in his career. Some of these sculptures are Persistence of Memory, Nobility of Time, Profile of Time and Three Dancing Clocks.

La tentación de San Antonio de Salvador Dalí.

The Temptation of Saint Anthony is a painting painted in 1946. It is a precursor to Dalí’s body of work commonly known as the“classical period” or the“Dalí Renaissance“.

Dalí painted The Temptation of St. Anthony in 1946, in response to a competition held by the David L. Loew-Albert Lewin film production company for the painting of The Temptation of St. Anthony. Loew-Albert Lewin film production company for a painting of The Temptation of St. Anthony, which would be used in the film The Private Affairs of Bel Ami. This was the only art competition in which Dalí participated, and the painting chosen for the film was Max Ernst‘s version of the temptation.

The painting contains many surrealistic elements typical of his work. It is worth noting that it was the first of his works to show his interest in the in-betweenness between Heaven and Earth

This work is currently housed in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, Belgium.

Artists and authors have long depicted the Temptation of St. Anthony in their art. The Temptation of St. Anthony is painted in oil on canvas. It depicts a desert landscape: a low horizon line with high clouds and dark, warm tones in a blue sky

The figure of St. Anthony is kneeling in the lower left corner. He holds a cross in his right hand and with his left hand he leans on an ambiguous form. A human skull rests next to his right foot. A parade of elephants led by a horse approaches San Antonio

The elephants carry symbolic objects representing temptation: a statue of a nude woman holding her breasts, an obelisk, a complex of buildings enclosing a nude, disembodied female torso, and a vertical tower. The animals have exaggerated, long, spindly legs that make them appear weightless.

El sueño causado por el vuelo de una abeja, de Salvador Dalí.

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate One Second Before Awakening is a surrealist painting by Salvador Dalí. A shorter alternative title for the painting is Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee

It was painted in 1944, and the woman in the painting, dreaming, is said to represent his wife, Gala.The painting is currently in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.

It is an oil painting on wood. In this“dreamlike hand-painted photograph“, as Dalí used to call his paintings, there is a seascape of distant horizons and calm waters, perhaps Port Lligat, in the middle of which Gala is the subject of the scene. Next to the naked body of the sleeping woman, levitating on a flat rock floating on the sea, Dalí depicts two suspended drops of water and a pomegranate, a Christian symbol of fertility and resurrection. On the pomegranate flies a bee, an insect that traditionally symbolizes the Virgin.

In the upper left of the painting, what appears to be a yellow rockfish bursts from the pomegranate and, in turn, vomits up a lungingtiger, which, in turn, vomits up another lunging tiger that is about to attack Gala and a bayoneted rifle that is about to sting her in the arm. Above them is Dalí’s first use of an elephant with long flamingo legs, found in his later compositions such as The Temptation of St. Anthony

The elephant carries on its back an obelisk, inspired by Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk in the Piazza Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rom.

Galatea de las Esferas representa a la musa de Salvador Dalí, Gala.

Galatea of the Spheres is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1952. It depicts Gala Dalí, Salvador Dalí’s wife and muse, as a series of spheres arranged in a continuous array

The name Galatea refers to a sea nymph from classical mythology famous for her virtue, and may also refer to the statue beloved by her creator, Pygmalion.

The painting, measuring 65.0 x 54.0 cm, depicts Gala’s bust composed of a matrix of spheres seemingly suspended in space. It represents a synthesis of Renaissance art and atomic theory and illustrates the ultimate discontinuity of matter,[1] the spheres themselves representing atomic particles.

Dalí had been very interested in nuclear physics since the first atomic bomb explosions of August 1945, and described the atom as his“favorite food for thought

Recognizing that matter is made up of atoms that do not touch each other, he tried to reproduce this in his art of the time, with elements suspended and not in contact with each other, as in The Virgin of Port Lligat. This painting was also a symbol of his attempt to reconcile his renewed faith in Catholicism with nuclear physics

Dalí wanted this painting to be exhibited on an easel, which had been owned by the French painter Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier, in a set of three rooms called the Palace of the Winds (named after the tramontana) in the Dalí Theater and Museum in Figueres

It was transported and exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne in 2009, along with many other Dalí paintings in the Liquid Desire exhibition.

El Gran Masturbador es una conocida obra de arte de Dalí.

The Great Masturbator is a painting by Salvador Dalí made during the Surrealist period, currently on display at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid.

The center of the painting features a distorted human face in profile looking down, based on the shape of a natural rock formation at Cap de Creus, along the coast of Catalonia. A similar profile is seen in Dalí’s most famous painting from two years later, The Persistence of Memory

A nude female figure (resembling Dalí’s then-new muse, Gala) emerges from the back of the head; this may be the masturbatory fantasy suggested by the title. The woman’s mouth is close to a thinly clad male crotch, a suggestion that fellatio may be taking place.

The male figure, seen only from the waist down, has fresh, bleeding cuts at the knees. Below the central profile head, above his mouth, is a grasshopper, an insect to which Dalí referred several times in his writings

A swarm of ants (a popular motif representing sexual anxiety in Dalí’s work) gathers on the grasshopper’s abdomen, as well as on the tilted face

In the landscape below, three other figures are arranged, along with an egg (commonly used as a symbol of fertility) and other sparse elements. Two of the figures in the landscape are arranged in such a way that they cast a single long shadow, while the other figure is seen walking hurriedly into the distance on the periphery of the canvas

To the back of the central figure in the head, a formation of two rocks and a dried potted plant can be seen, the potted plant placed on top of the lower rock, while the other rock is unrealistically balanced on top of it. This part is thought to represent the idea of escape from reality found in many of Dalí’s other works.

The painting may represent Dalí’s severely conflicted attitudes toward sexual relationships. In Dalí’s youth, his father had left him a book with explicit photos of people suffering from untreated advanced venereal disease to “educate” the boy. The pictures of diseased and grotesquely damaged genitals fascinated and horrified the young Dalí, who continued to associate sex with putrefaction and decay into his adulthood.

Jirafa en Llamas de Salvador Dalí.

Burning Giraffe is an oil on board and is in the Kunstmuseum Basel and was painted in 1937.

Dalí painted Giraffe on Fire before his exile in the United States, which lasted from 1940 to 1948. Although Dalí declared himself apolitical –“I am Dalí, and only that” – this painting shows his personal struggle against the battle in his native country

Characteristic are the open drawers of the blue female figure, which Dalí described at a later date as “Femme-coccyx” (tail-bone woman). This phenomenon goes back to the psychoanalytic method of Sigmund Freud, much admired by Dalí. He considered it an enormous step forward for civilization, as the following quote shows: “The only difference between immortal Greece and our time is Sigmund Freud, who discovered that the human body, which in Greek times was merely neoplatonic, is now full of secret drawers that can only be opened by psychoanalysis”.

The open drawers in this expressive propped-up female figure refer, then, to man’s inner subconscious. In Dalí’s own words, his paintings form “a kind of allegory that serves to illustrate a certain perception, to follow the numerous narcissistic odors that ascend from each of our drawers.”

The image is set in a twilight atmosphere with an intense blue sky. There are two female figures in the foreground, one of them with drawers opening from her side like a chest. Both have undefined phallic shapes (perhaps melted clocks, as a recurring image in Dalí’s earlier works) protruding from their backs and leaning on crutch-like objects. The hands, forearms and face of the nearest figure are bare to the muscle tissue beneath the skin. One of the figures holds a strip of flesh

Both the human figures acting as dressers and the crutch forms are common archetypes in Dalí’s work.

Agiraffe with a flaming back is seen in the distance. Dalí first used the image of the flaming giraffe in his 1930 film L’Âge d’Or (The Golden Age ). It appeared again in 1937 in the painting The Invention of Monsters. Dalí described this image as “the male apocalyptic cosmic monster”. He believed it was a premonition of the war.

La metamorfosis de Narciso fue pintada por Salvador Dalí.

Metamorphosis of Narcissus is an oil on canvas that belongs to Dalí’s paranoiac-critical period and represents his interpretation of the Greek myth of Narcissus. Dalí began painting in the spring of 1937 while in Zürs, in the Austrian Alps.

According to Greek mythology, Narcissus’ beauty attracted almost everyone who saw him and both men and women pursued him, but he rejected all advances. One of his admirers, a nymph named Echo, fell so madly in love with him that, after he rejected her, she was consumed until only her voice remained. The goddess Nemesis, taking pity on Echo, convinced Narcissus to look into a pool. Seeing his own face reflected in the water, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. Unable to embrace his own reflection, Narcissus also wasted away and in its place grew the flower that bears his name, the daffodil.

In Dalí’s painting, he depicts the figure of Narcissus on the left side of the canvas, crouching by a lake, his head resting on his knee, and a stone hand clutching an egg that mirrors the shape of his body on the right side. From the broken egg sprouts a daffodil flower. In the center of the painting is a group of suitors rejected by Narcissus. Between the mountains in the background rests a third figure of Narcissus.

On July 19, 1938, in London, Dalí met Sigmund Freud, whom the painter had admired since the 1920s, after reading Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams

During their meeting, Dalí brought his painting Metamorphosis of Narcissus with him in the hope of using it to discuss the psychoanalytic theory of narcissism and his concept of critical paranoia, which he developed based on Freud’s concept of paranoia. He was also given permission to draw Freud. The meeting was organized by the writer Stefan Zweig and Dalí’s benefactor, Edward James, who also attended and eventually obtained ownership of Metamorphosis of Narcissus.

Cristo de San Juan de la Cruz, ,pitando por Salvador Dalí.

Christ of St. John of the Cross is a painting made in 1951 that is in the collection of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow

It depicts Jesus Christ on the cross in a dark sky floating above a body of water, with a boat and fishermen. Although it is a depiction of the crucifixion, it lacks nails, blood and crown of thorns because, according to Dalí, a dream convinced him that these elements would spoil his depiction of Christ. Also in a dream, it was revealed to him the importance of depicting Christ at the extreme angle seen in the painting.

The painting is known as the Christ of St. John of the Cross, because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th century Spanish friar Juan de la Cruz.

The composition of Christ is also based on a triangle and a circle (the triangle is formed by Christ’s arms; the circle is formed by Christ’s head). The triangle, having three sides, may be considered a reference to the Trinity, and the circle may be an allusion to Platonic thought. The circle represents Unity: all things exist in the “three”, but in the four, happy be.

At the bottom of his studies for the painting, Dalí explained his inspiration

“First, in 1950, I had a ‘cosmic dream’ in which I saw this image in color and which in my dream represented the ‘nucleus of the atom.’ This nucleus later acquired a metaphysical sense; I considered it ‘the very unity of the universe’, the Christ!”.

To create the figure of Christ, Dalí had Hollywood stuntman actor Russell Saunders hang from a portico, so he could see how the body would appear from the desired angle and also envision the force of gravity on the human body. The body of water represented is the bay of Port Lligat, Dalí’s residence at the time of painting the picture.

Desintegración de la persistencia de la memoria de Salvador Dalí.

The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory is a 1954 oil on canvas painting that recreates the artist’s famous 1931 work The Persistence of Memory, and measures a tiny 25.4 × 33 cm

Originally known as The Chromosome of a Heavily Colored Fisheye that Initiates the Harmonious Disintegration of The Persistence of Memory, it was first exhibited at the Carstairs Gallery in New York in 1954.

In this version, the landscape of the original work has been flooded with water. The disintegration represents what occurs both above and below the surface of the water

The Cadaqués landscape now floats above the water. The plane and block of the original are now divided into brick-like forms that float together, with nothing binding them together. They represent the decomposition of matter into atoms, a revelation in the age of quantum mechanics

Behind the bricks, the horns that move away symbolize atomic missiles, emphasizing that, despite the cosmic order, mankind could bring about its own destruction. The dead olive tree from which the soft clock hangs has also begun to break

The clock hands float above their dials, with several conical objects floating in parallel formations surrounding the clocks. A fourth melting clock has been added. The distorted human face in the original painting begins to morph into another of the strange fish floating above it. For Dalí, however, the fish was a symbol of life.

Construcción blanda con judías hervidas de Salvador Dalí.

Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of the Civil War) is a work that Dalí created to represent the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, having painted it only six months before the conflict began. He later claimed that he was aware that the war was going to happen long before it began, and cited his work as proof of the “prophetic power of his subconscious mind.” However, some have speculated that Dalí may have changed the name of the painting after the war to emphasize his prophetic claims, although it is not entirely certain

Art historian Robert Hughes commented on Dalí’s painting in his biography of Goya, stating

“Salvador Dalí appropriated the horizontal thigh of Goya’s crouching Saturn for the hybrid monster in the painting Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, … which – more than the Picasso’s Guernica– is the best work of visual art inspired by the Spanish Civil War.”

The painting is an oil on canvas and is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Dalí painted it in 1936, but there are studies that date it to 1934

Dalí and his wife, Gala, were caught in the middle of a general strike and armed uprising by Catalan separatists in Catalonia in 1934, an incident that may have influenced his Spanish Civil War motif.

Salvador and Gala escaped to Paris, where they married. Dalí and Gala had hired an escort to take them safely to Paris, but the escort died on their return due to the tensions of the Spanish Civil War. When Dalí finally returned home, his house in Port Lligat had been destroyed in the war. He was also greatly affected because his friend, Federico Garcia Lorca, 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 monstrous creature in this painting is self-destructive, as is the Civil War

It is not intended to represent the choice of sides, although Dalí 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, the poet Federico García Lorca, was killed by a Fascist firing squad

Dalí also made this painting look very realistic, yet he continued to bring surrealistic concepts to it. Although humans do not have the potential to resemble the creatures in this painting, this painting retains a realistic feel, reminding the viewer of the gravity of the ideas behind it. He also brought ideas of tradition to this work with a beautiful Catalan sky, creating a contrast to the idea of revolution

There are a significant number of boiled beans in this painting. Dalí is quoted as saying that the reason he included the boiled beans was that he “could not imagine swallowing all that unconscious meat without the presence of some mealy, melancholy vegetable” By this he meant that there were many difficulties in the war, so Spanish citizens had to do their best to deal with their problems. He played with the themes of love, food and war and how they are all related.

Do you like Salvador Dalí’s surrealist art? Tell us what your favorite work is, whether it’s on this list or not. Tell us what is its title and what sensations it transmits to you

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Antoni A

Antoni A

3 thoughts on “10 Salvador Dalí’s Artworks that will Surprise You”

  1. I have 2 favourite paintings by Salvador Dali.
    1. Christ of St John of the Cross
    I like the tranquility of the painting and the untethered cross suspended in space.
    Although a violent event is depicted, Christ looks calm as he looks down on a serene landscape.
    It is beautifully painted.

    2.Swans Reflecting Elephants
    It is a clever and interesting painting to look at.

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