Exploring Dalí

For as long as I can remember, I have LOVED Salvador Dalí (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989).

I was born and raised in St. Pete, FL, and can remember going to The Dalí Museum often. I don’t remember a whole lot beyond the fact that I would sit and stare at his stuff, studying it and trying to capture every last detail. They’re so chock full!

His most well-known piece is The Persistence of Memory (1931).

Source: dailyartfixx

While I do love this one, there are so many other works by Dalí that captivate me even more. I am such a fan of surrealist art. It draws me in in a way that I really can’t even explain, except to say that it causes me to think, to experience and really look, and even to empathize. My brother likes to say that I like it because it’s intellectual. I’m not really sure if that’s the case, but I love that like a book or a poem, I find that I keep discovering something I hadn’t noticed before.

Here are some of my favorite pieces by Dalí:

Swans Reflecting Elephants (1937)

Source: blogs.bgsu.edu

I love the attention to detail here. And how, at first glance, it’s a picture of swans. But then when you really look, you see Dalí has inserted a portrait of himself into the painting. You also see that the long necks of the swans are reflected as elephants’ trunks, the bodies of the swans reflect as the elephants’ ears and the shoreline and tall trees reflect as the elephants’ bodies and legs.


The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus (1959)

Source: Wikipedia


The Hallucinogenic Toreador (1970)

Source: Wikipedia

This one and the one above are very large works. They are both on display at The Dalí Museum. Although I’ve probably spent more than 6 hours total studying each of these, I still can’t get enough. If you ever have a chance to view these in person, and any other of his works, I highly recommend it!

The Hallucinogenic Toreador has SO much going on, in each and every corner. There is–of course–the toreador and the slain bull (the head). But Dalí also includes the Venus de Milos, a portrait of his wife, landscape of his birthplace, and so much more. But the piece as a whole is striking!

That things aren’t just haphazardly thrown into Dalí’s works makes them that much more interesting. Each item plays a part in telling the larger story. This is part of why I love surrealist art–and Dalí–so much.