Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach - Salvador Dali

Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach - Salvador Dali

The apparition of a Face and a Fruit Dish on a Beach was painted by Salvador Dali in 1938, in the midst of his passion for the "paranoid-critical method", the author of which, please note, was Salvador Dali himself. This large artwork (114.8 X 143.8 cm, oil on canvas) is currently in the Wadsworth Ateneum Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.


The painting is one of the most brilliant and famous works by Dali the surrealist - however, ironically, when it was done, Dali's relationship with the Surrealist Circle ended, one might say, completely.

What was the reason for that? A rather ambiguous interpretation of the sacred image of Vladimir Lenin in some of Dali's works; even more ambiguous and ambiguous statements of Salvador on the subject of Hitler, the increasingly obvious commercialization of talent, which the Catalan was actively involved in; finally, the provocative behavior of Dali himself, who, to be honest, was too original and independent to get along in any society ... 

In a word, Dali was expelled from the Circle, after which he publicly declared: "Surrealism is me!" Of course, it sounded a very self-confident and even impudent maxim, but the paradox is that today surrealism is primarily associated with the name of Salvador Dali! It turns out that this young man from Figueres, with a mustache and a Russian wife, was not so wrong? But back to the painting!

A silvery fruit dish on the table, filled with pears with a brownish skin, if you look closely at the picture, suddenly turns into a human face. The leg of the vase is the bridge of the nose, the base of the leg is the chin; pears turn into hair, and objects depicted in the depths of the canvas in the background suddenly turn into the eyes of this pensive, sad face, weaving out of air and emerging from nowhere.

This is how this face emerging from the depths of our perception appears to be: pensive, sad and eerie, especially if you know whose face it is. This is the face of Federico Garcia Lorca - the Spanish poet, the only and closest friend of Dali - before the appearance of Gala, of course, after which the artist "was friends" only with her, no longer needing anyone.

However, this friendship, on the part of the homosexual Lorca, looked more like a love passion, one way or another, enriched both, especially in a creative way. After that, Gala appeared, and then the Civil War began, at the very beginning of which the poet was shot by the Francoists, having survived the most severe torture and humiliation the day before. Lorca, the most talented of the Spanish poets of his time, died a terrible death, died young - and Dali returns to this image in the works of that period many times.

Why? So he says goodbye not to Lorca, with whom fate divorced him much earlier - but to the memory of him. Salvador Dali did not like to suffer - neither in reality, nor in thoughts. And the healing effect of creativity - for the "creator" himself - has been known for a long time. As for Dali, he depicts over and over again the sad face of Lorca, paying the last tribute to a friend - before he finally gets rid of difficult thoughts about him.

Dali, I must say, and was generally not endowed with large reserves of spiritual warmth - he could not experience any strong feelings for more than one person at a time. Once this person was the artist's mother, after - his sister Anna-Maria, then - Lorca, and after him Gala appeared - for as much as 53 years.

The fact that Lorca appears more than once in Dali's paintings of 1937-1938 (shortly after the execution of the poet) indicates that Dali is experiencing a moment of parting with the poet, before finally getting rid of the oppressive memories of him. So it was when Gala appeared in his life, and Dali returned for a while in paintings to the image of his mother - which, of course, was also a kind of farewell - and again not with a person, but with painful memories of him.

Perhaps that is why this painting makes a heavy and slightly dull impression on me personally - I see in front of me the ghost of a person who died in the bloom of years - and who died, as already mentioned, a terrible death.

It is interesting that Dali once again depicts the fruit dish, which served as the basis for the "double image" - that is, we are dealing with an image not only double, but also "bifurcated". Taking a closer look, you will find the same fruit dish, in a greatly reduced size, in the depths of the canvas. This is also typical for the works of Salvador Dali of the paranoid-critical period - to depict not only the double image itself, but also its "solution", as, for example, in the famous painting Metamorphosis of Narcissus - and many others.

In this regard, one recalls the reproaches of the founder of the surrealist circle, André Breton, against Dali's works of this period. Breton stated that Dali's paintings are beginning to resemble jigsaw puzzles, in which the artist seems to have one goal - to invent a more intricate image. However, it is not. The very fact that Dali gives not only an image, but immediately explains it, shows that the main task of Dali was not the desire to surprise the viewer, puzzle him and make him admire inexhaustible fantasy. Otherwise, there would be no doubled images, which, in their essence, serve as a "clue"of the picture.

For Dali, there is no doubt about this, the source and the primary cause has always been the image that spontaneously emerged in the artist's brain - which he then "with photographic precision" transferred to the canvas. As for the technical side of the picture, it is magnificent and once again makes us admire the pictorial skill of Salvador Dali.(Read the original text in Russian)

The authors of the article are Sergei Zakharov and his wife, colleague and comrad-in-arms, Tatiana - writers and tour guides. You can learn more about our books and buy them in the "Where and what to read" section. We invite you to our tours of the Dali museums in Catalonia. Revealing secrets, debunking myths, telling the truth - we promise full and deep immersion in the amazing Universe of Salvador Dali! 

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