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Posts Tagged ‘Salvador Dali

Dali, Cage and Rhinos

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In 1956, Salvador Dalí created a sculpture entitled Rinoceronte vestido con puntillas (Rhinoceros dressed in lace). He was inspired by a woodcut created by Albrecht Dürer in 1515, popularly known as Dürer’s Rhinoceros. Starting in the 50s, Dali painted several of his subjects as composed of rhinoceros horns. According to Dalí, the rhinoceros horn signifies divine geometry because it grows in a logarithmic spiral. He also linked the rhinoceros to themes of chastity and to the Virgin Mary: “The rhino horn is indeed the legendary unicorn horn, symbol of chastity. The young lady may choose to lie on it or to morally play with it; as it was usual in courtesan love epochs”.

As an homage to Vermeer, he painted a study of The Lacemaker composed entirely of exploding rhinoceros horns. This piece, Paranoiac-Critical Study of Vermeer’s Lacemaker was painted at the Paris Zoo. In 1958, his tribute to the 300th anniversary of the death of Velasquez, the Infanta Margarita, also included rhinoceros horns, which converge to define the head of the Infanta. In the above 1952 photo, Dali–equipped with his only horn–pays a homage of a rhinoceros.

The photo was taken by Phillippe Halsman, who met Dalí in 1941 and started collaborating with him in the late 1940s. Their 1948 work Dali Atomicus explores the idea of suspension. Halsman and Dali eventually released a compendium of their collaborations in the 1954 book Dali’s Mustache, which features 36 different views of the artist’s distinctive mustache. The photo was homaged by Annie Leibovitz in 1996 photoshoot with Nicolas Cage.

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Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

July 30, 2009 at 5:40 am

Dalí Atomicus

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dali_atomicus_philippe_halsman

Philippe Halsman made his career out of taking portraits of people jumping, an act which he maintained revealed his subjects’ true selves. 

This Dali photograph is Halsman’s homage both to the new atomic age (physicists had recently announced that all matter hangs in a constant state of suspension) and to Dalí’s surrealist masterpiece “Leda Atomica” (which hangs on the right, behind the cats, and unfinished at the time). In 1941 Halsman met the surrealist Salvador Dalí and they began to collaborate in the late 1940s.

Halsman reported that it took 28 attempts to be satisfied with the result. Halsman and Dali eventually released a compendium of their collaborations in the 1954 book Dali’s Mustache, which also featured 36 different views of the artist’s distinctive mustache. Halsman’s wife, Yvonne, held the chair, on the count of three, his assistants threw three increasingly angry cats and a bucket of water into the air; and on the count of four, Dali jumped and Halsman snapped the picture. It was that simple, said Halsman, but it nonetheless took six hours. 

Halsman’s original idea is to use an opaque liquid (milk) but it was abandoned for fear that viewers, fresh from the privations of World War II, would condemn it as a waste of milk. Another idea involved exploding a cat in order to capture it “in suspension.”

daliatomicus

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 8, 2009 at 1:49 am

Posted in Culture

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