The Salvador Dali art gallery I created in second life is now closed and thought I would share the paintings appealed to me the most.  Its funny how the things you create in a virtual world lead  you to learn about people that were in the real world.

salvador dali
Birth name     Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech
Born     May 11, 1904
Figueres, Spain
Died     January 23, 1989 (aged 84)
Figueres, Catalonia, Spain
Spouse     Gala Dalí (Elena Ivanovna Diakonova)
Nationality     Spanish
Field     Painting, Drawing, Photography, Sculpture, Writing, Film
Training     San Fernando School of Fine Arts, Madrid
Movement     Cubism, Dada, Surrealism

dali Galaofspheres

Galatea of the Spheres is a painting by Salvador Dalí made in 1952. It depicts Gala Dalí, Salvador Dalí’s wife and muse, as pieced together through a series of spheres. The name Galatea refers to a sea nymph of Classical mythology renowned for her virtue.

a treasured jewel of the collection of the Teatru-Museu Dali in Figueres, Spain – was executed during Dali’s Nuclear-Mystical period, emphasizing the notion of atomic particles, which new discoveries in nuclear physics were bringing to light, and which positively intrigued Dali and literally changed the way he viewed the world and his artistic place in it.

Like all “matter,” even the immortal visage of Madame Dali is composed of atoms, around whose nuclei swirl electrons and protons – thus eliciting the “moving” or “flying” elements seen in the area of Gala’s hair in this dazzling and wildly unconventional portrait. And yet, it’s a remarkably faithful likeness of her, given its unusual structure – more evidence that Dali was a genius without parallel.

The overall style of Galatea of the Spheres also nods to Dali’s enduring fascination with mathematics and divine proportions. According to one author, Dali said that painting Gala as the sea nymph, Galatea, “embodied the ‘unity of the universe’ and the ‘music of the spheres, to which the sirens are dancing.’”

dali swallowtailThe Swallow’s Tail — Series on Catastrophes (French: La queue d’aronde — Série des catastrophes) was Salvador Dalí’s last painting. It was completed in May 1983, as the final part of a series based on René Thom’s catastrophe theory.

The shape of Dalí’s Swallow’s Tail is taken directly from Thom’s four-dimensional graph of the same title, combined with a second catastrophe graph, the s-curve that Thom dubbed, “the cusp”. Thom’s model is presented alongside the elegant curves of a cello and the instrument’s f-holes

Homage to René Thom, the lower left corner of which features Thom’s equation for the ‘swallow’s tail’, V = x5 + ax3 + bx2 + cx, an illustration of the graph, and the term ‘queue d’aronde’. The seismic fracture that transverses Topological Abduction of Europe reappears in The Swallow’s Tail at the precise point where the y-axis of the swallow’s tail graph intersects with the S-curve of the cusp.

dali the-temptation-of-st-anthony1946
Dali was invited to participate in a painting competition organized by a movie-producing firm called the Loew Lewin Company. After a few days of work in a New York studio, Dali submitted The Temptation of Saint Anthony as his entry.

Salvador Dali’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony depicts the temptations Saint Anthony the Great reportedly faced during his pilgrimage to the desert. As told by Athanasius of Alexandria, Anthony renounced his worldly possessions in the 3rd Century. He traveled to the Arabian Desert to live alone and strengthen his faith. While on his pilgrimage, Anthony repeated prayers as Satan attempted to tempt him. In Salvador Dali’s version of the tale, Saint Anthony is walking through the desert when he is confronted by a giant horse and five elephants.

Saint Anthony is dwarfed and confined in bottom left corner of the painting by the approaching monsters. The negative space around Saint Anthony and in the foreground shows the distance from the temptation in front of him. Saint Anthony is kneeling, a posture of submission. He has shorn his clothing and raised his hand toward the oncoming parade of temptation. Is his nude, kneeling body in submission to the temptations or to his unseen savior? The cross, a common symbol of Christianity, in his extended hand seems to indicate the strength and will in his faith.

At the front of the line of temptations is a monstrous white horse. The horse is a symbol of strength, yet it seems frightened by the small body of Saint Anthony. Does this imply that the strength of Saint Anthony and his faith are enough to combat temptation? The position of the horse indicates it may also symbolize something else. The horse is up on its hind legs exposing its undercarriage. Its mane looks like flames of a fire, representing the fiery passion of sex. The muscular body of the horse can also represent a female’s voluptuousness. This is reinforced by the horse’s gaze at the nude woman’s breasts.

The elephants in Salvador Dali’s The Temptation of Saint Anthony have long, spindly, fragile legs. As the legs of Dali’s elephants extend higher and higher, they symbolize man’s desire to excel. However, as the feet of the gargantuan beasts are planted on the ground so are the dreams of man planted in reality. While a common symbol in Dali’s work, the elephants were not completely original. They were highly influenced by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, a famous Italian artist who was often commissioned by the papacy.

Dali Lobster_telephoneLobster Telephone (also known as Aphrodisiac Telephone) is a surrealist object, created by Salvador Dalí in 1936 for the English poet Edward James (1907–1984)

The work is a composite of an ordinary working telephone and a lobster made of plaster. It is approximately 15 × 30 × 17 cm (6 × 12 × 6.6 inches) in size.

This is a classic example of a Surrealist object, made from the conjunction of items not normally associated with each other, resulting in something both playful and menacing. Dalí believed that such objects could reveal the secret desires of the unconscious. Lobsters and telephones had strong sexual connotations for Dalí. The telephone appears in certain paintings of the late 1930s such as Mountain Lake (Tate), and the lobster appears in drawings and designs, usually associated with erotic pleasure and pain. For the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Dalí created a multi-media experience entitled Dream of Venus, which consisted in part of dressing live nude models in “costumes” made of fresh seafood, an event photographed by Horst P. Horst and George Platt Lynes. A lobster was used by the artist to cover the female sexual organs of his models. Dalí often drew a close analogy between food and sex. In Lobster Telephone, the crustacean’s tail, where its sexual parts are located, is placed directly over the mouthpiece.

dali medative roseSunday Dalí: Meditative Rose, 1958, oil on canvas, 36 x 28 cm, from the Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Grant Collection, New York City.

Roses appear in numerous Dalí works. For Dalí roses were a female sexual symbol. Dalí painted several works depicting women with their heads made of flowers. The Invisible Man and Bleeding Roses both depict women with bouquets of roses where their wombs should be.

In The Rose, there is a tiny drop of water on one of the petals of the flower which creates an optical illusion a third dimension. This effect is called trompe l’oeil. Dalí often used it to highlight a small detail of a painting. Tricks of the eye were a prevalent in surrealist art.

Beneath the rose stands a couple with their heads bowed. This is a reference to Millet’s Angelus which was one of Dalí’s favorite paintings and one which he frequently referred to in his own works.