"Spain" was painted by Salvador Dali in 1938, when the artist was away from the Spanish Civil War and his beloved Port Lligat. Dali, who had not decided on the choice of side, and did not want to take any part in hostilities at all, spent all three years of the bloody Spanish events outside the country - but this did not mean at all that what was happening in his homeland did not bother him at all.
"Spain" became for Dali one of many attempts to comprehend this terrible and truly "biological", as Dali called it, phenomenon - War.
Note that Salvador Dali, as we have already mentioned more than once, persistently emphasized his apoliticality and declared that war, in fact, is not a clash of political forces, but just the release of ancient animal instincts, from which mankind will never get rid of, because such is its deepest essence.
In the "secret places" of each of us, no matter how we dress up in decent clothes of civilization and high morality, there is always a cruel beast hungry for blood. It is no coincidence that we can observe in the painting famous by that time drawers of Salvador Dali - the very "caches of the subconscious" that appeared thanks to the fanatical passion of the Spanish artist for Freud and quickly became one of Dali's favorite images.
And what is is hidden in the subconscious of Spain, engulfed in fratricidal war in Spain? Cruelty and bloodlust. This is the only and most important thing during the war years: bestial cruelty, lust for blood and an endless desire to destroy their own kind.
The drawer, as we can see, is ajar, and a piece of bloody flesh sticks out of it. The same is evidenced by the image of a bloodthirsty predator, a lion, not accidentally introduced by Salvador Dali into the plot. The fact that cruelty and lust for blood are at the forefront is evidenced by the richly bloody color of the piece of meat - which immediately stands out against the deliberately monotonous, with an earthy shade, palette of the painting.
"Spain" gives us the opportunity, among other things, to enjoy one of the most interesting, creatively invented and masterfully executed "double images" of Salvador Dali. Looking closely, we see that the face and torso of the allegorical "Spain" are at the same time a battle scene.
The images of the condottieri warriors themselves certainly indicate that the time spent by Dali in Florence was not in vain. The artist actively studied the masterpieces of Raphael, Leonardo, Michelangelo - and the influence of the great masters (in this case, Leonardo da Vinci), is especially noticeable in the painting.
It is interesting to note that "Spain" was exhibited by Dali at a small exhibition, which Gala insisted on organizing, in February 1939 in Paris, in a studio apartment on the Parisian street Tobe-Issoire, where Dali and Gala lived then. The exhibition, in spite of the troubled times, was attended by many socialites and people of art.
And, as Dali later proudly recalled, the first who came to the exhibition and the last who left it was Pablo Picasso himself! Picasso deliberately came to see a painting of Spain - and was very impressed by this truly wonderful painting! (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!