Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (1944) is one of those "instant, hand-made photographs of sleep" for which Salvador Dali was so famous in the 30s and 40s. Relatively small in size (51 X 40.5 cm, oil, board), this painting is now kept in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.
"Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening" is the most famous and most striking Dali's tribute to the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, whom the artist revered so much that he even called Freud his Father. Dali's meeting with Freud, which took place on July 19, 1938, became one of the most important events in the life of the Catalan artist, which he remembered with excitement and pride many years later.
"Dream Caused By the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate" is a consciously and absolutely "Freudian" thing that could well serve as one of the excellent illustrations to Freud's work "The Interpretation of Dreams", which at one time became for the young Dali, according to his own confessions, " the most important reading of his life. "
The painting is absolutely "Freudian" thing that could well serve as one of the excellent illustrations to Freud's work "The Interpretation of Dreams", which at one time became for the young Dali, according to his own confessions, " the most important reading of his life. " Gala is depicted asleep on a stone slab, surrounded on all sides by the sea, symbolizing the unconscious.
The rocks of Cadaques and Cape Creus, depicted in the picture, symbolize Dali's longing for his native and so far inaccessible places (at that time, Dali, as we know, was in the United States and did not even know if he would ever be able to return to Spain).
Anyone who has been to Cadaqués immediately recognizes the cliff protruding from the water, which has a characteristic triangular shape and is known as Es Kukurukuk. Located off the coast near Cadaques, this cliff appears dozens of times in the works of Salvador Dali.
"I am inseparable from this sea, this sky, these rocks! Here my most cherished truth, my roots, was formed!" - let us recall the emotional statement of Dali himself about his small homeland.
It is interesting that Gala's body does not touch the surface of the stone, but hovers above it - do not forget, this is a dream! In the foreground one can see is a pomegranate (a symbol of fertility), and a bee circling around it.
On the left and behind there is another, much larger pomegranate, from a rift in which a fierce fish jumps out, and two formidable roaring tigers literally erupt from its mouth. Here, next to this composition, we see a rifle with a bayonet attached, aimed at Gala - an indication that a real bee circling around a pomegranate - which gave rise to this eerie dream - is about to sting the sleeping one, and Gala will wake up.
“The goal was for the first time to depict the type of long coherent sleep, discovered by Freud, caused by an instant impact, from which awakening occurs. Just as the falling of a needle on the sleeper's neck simultaneously causes his awakening and a long sleep ending with a guillotine, the buzzing of a bee here causes a sting that will wake Gala. All life-giving biology arises from a bursting pomegranate. Bernini's elephant in the background bears the obelisk and the attributes of the Pope. "
"Bernini's elephant in the background bears an obelisk and the attributes of the Pope" - here Salvador Dali clearly alludes to a dream about the funeral of the Pope, which Freud once dreamed of because of the bell ringing, and which was subsequently cited by a psychiatrist as an example of a very intricate connection between the plot and the external irritant.
In 1667, at the direction of Pope Alexander VII, a monument in the shape of an elephant was erected on the Piazza Minerva in Rome, which carries an Egyptian obelisk on its back. The sculptor of the monument was Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini - this is the original source of the image, to which Dali added the longest thin articulated legs, which, according to the artist, was supposed to symbolize the instability of sleep.
Dali himself liked the image of an elephant on the thinnest articulated stilts-legs, and later he repeatedly used it in his other works - paintings, sculptures and even jewelry. The meaning that Dali gave to this image could change depending on the plot, but as an experienced tour guide to the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, I definitely testify: "Salvador Dali's elephants" are the most popular souvenir among our tourists! (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!