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Surrealist Composition [Inaugural Gooseflesh], 1928
Dalí gave this picture its title in 1964. Here the diagonal construction is again used. The visible material in the picture would seem to place it with the works painted in 1927 such as Blood Is Sweeter Than Honey in that series which Lorca called '
Unsatisfied Desires, 1928
This picture was painted in Cadaqués during the summer of 1928. Dalí sent it along with another work, Female Nude, to the Salon d'Automne which was held at Maragall's Gallery in
'Then,' Dalí relates, 'in protest I gave a lecture at the Sala Pares which triggered a frightful scandal because I had insulted all the painters who were doing twisted trees. This was the first of three scandalous lectures that I was to give in
'It is one of the first pictures of the period when I used the gravel from the
The Enigma of Desire: My Mother, My Mother, My Mother, 1929
This great composition, among the first works of the Surrealist period, is one of the most important. Dalí painted The Enigma of Desire in Figueras just as he was finishing The Lugubrious Game.
'I did it at the same time as The Great Masturbator', he relatess 'immediately after summer. My aunt had a large dressmaking workroom and it was there that I did all these pictures. The Great Masturbator was taken from a chromo that I had which depicted a woman smelling a lily. Naturally the face is mixed with memories of Cadaqués, of summer, of the rocks of
In the baroque appendage that elongates the visage, we recognize the geological structures of the rocks of the region near
The second part of the title, My Mother, My Mother, My Mother, was inspired by one of Tristan Tzara's poems, 'The Great Lament of My Darkness,' which appeared in 1917. Dalí considers The Enigma of Desire to be one of his ten most important paintings. The little group on the left depicts Dalí himself embracing his father, with a fish, a grasshopper, a dagger, and a lion's head.
The Great Masturbator, 1929
The Great Masturbator is a self-portrait painted in July 1929. Dalí's head has the shape of a rock formation near his home and is seen in this form in several paintings dating from 1929. The painting deals with Dalí's fear and loathing of sex. He blamed his negative feelings toward sex as partly a result of reading his father's, extremely graphic book on venereal diseases as a young boy.
The head is painted 'soft', as if malleable to the touch; it looks fatigued, sexually spent: the eyes are closed, the cheeks flushed. Under the nose a grasshopper clings, its abdomen covered with ants that crawl onto the face where a mouth should be. From early childhood, Dalí had a phobia of grasshoppers and the appearance of one here suggests his feelings of hysterical fear and a loss of voice or control.
Emerging from the right of the head, a woman moves her mouth toward a man's crotch. The man's legs are cut and bleeding, implying a fear of castration. The woman's face is cracked, as though the image that Dalí's head produces will soon disintegrate. To reiterate the sexual theme, the stamen of a lily and tongue of a lion appear underneath the couple.
The Persistence of Memory, 1931
Many of Dalí's paintings were influenced and inspired by the landscapes of his youth. Several in particular were painted on the slopes of
Note the craggy rocks of
When Dalí was alone with Gala and his paintings in
One hot August afternoon, in 1931, as Dalí sat at his work bench nibbling at his lunch, he came upon one of his most stunning paranoiac-critical hallucinations. Upon taking a pencil, and sliding it under a bit of Camembert cheese, which had become softer and runnier than usual in the summer heat, Dalí was inspired with the idea for the melting watches. They appear often throughout Dalí's works, and are the subject of much interest. In short, this particular work, is an important referral back to Dalí's Catalan Heritage, that was so very important to him.
The Architectonic Angelus of Millet, 1933
The Architectonic Angelus of Millet shows how Dalí used the 'paranoia-critical' method, employing Millet's The Angelus as the catalyst. Dalí saw a reproduction of The Angelus in 1929, not having thought about it since childhood. He had been obsessed with the image as a child, finding parallels between that and two cypress trees that stood outside his classroom. Upon seeing this reproduction, he became very upset and distressed; to discover why he employed psychoanalytical methods. He also began to see The Angelus in 'visions' in objects around him: once in a lithograph of cherries, once in two stones on a beach. The Architectonic Angelus of Millet was based upon this latter 'vision'.
Unlike Gala and The Angelus of Millet, The Architectonic Angelus has no reproduction of The Angelus. Instead, the Angelus couple are transformed into two huge, white stones that loom over the Catalonian landscape. Dalí pointed out that although the male stone on the left appears to be dominant due to its size, the female stone is the aggressor here, pushing out a part of herself to make physical contact with the male. The often-used image of the young Dalí with his father can be seen sheltering underneath the male stone.
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