Monday, March 09, 2009

Artist of the Week - Salvador Dali

Galatea of the Spheres, Oil on Canvas, 1952

Salvador and his wife Gala had an incredible bond. He depended on her completely. Unable to cope with managing his life (like making change for a taxi or arranging for a meal for himself) Gala ordered his universe. She was everything to him, but one of the most important roles she had was as his muse. Dali painted his wife numerous times.

This painting is astounding - he portrays her classic beauty with emotion and grace. He does this as he visually shatters her image into perfect orbs that swirl in tandem with each other. They dance above the earth suspended between the sky and the tranquil sea. In the mid-twentieth century he was contemplating the theories of Freud in the new field of psychology as well as Heisenberg and physics. They were powerful influences on his art (as were many, many other things!).

Why did I choose Dali this evening - well, all things Spain right now (with my Spain trip coming up in June). Dali comes from Spain and you can see the dramatic Spanish terrain in many of his paintings. I guess I've been particularly interested in him in the last few years. I read a great biography about him. Though associated strongly with the Surrealist movement, Dali renounced any official affiliation. He was a loner.

Summer before last I had an opportunity to see his work in person. Mr. Miller & I visited the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Wow! It was fantastic! A museum devoted to Dali with a broad spectrum of his work displayed. I could have spent the day there (though it is not that large) just looking at his work (I only got about an hour). Complex, detailed, beautiful and enigmatic, you can study one piece for long periods of time drinking in every detail. Astounding, compelling and powerful, Salvador Dali's art leaves me breathless!

16 comments:

James Cook said...

This is a beautiful painting! I love the inward movement of the center orbs and the circular movement of the outer orbs. The form is amazing, how the centers of the orbs are slightly lighter to make it look 3-D. Choosing the shape of a sphere turns my interest; I'm amazed that I can see what it is supposed to be because when I look at it closely I can't see it. Yet the whole picture just works together.

Emma Schweitzer said...

This is interesting and geographically wonderful! The circular dimension creates two divergent images for the eyes, and the difference between 2d and 3d blends and compliments the other. The meeting of different material planes seems to be subtle, but you can tell that it wasn't like that when creating the piece. The contrast between the circles and the rectangular canvas also helps to create the off beat but smooth piece.

-Emma Schweitzer

Caroline said...

Dali is without a doubt my favorite artist. I love his work. He has to be the best surrealist I've ever seen. His paintings are so full of life and color and beauty. I've visited the museum in Florida as well as the one in Spain (YOU NEED TO CHECK THEM OUT!!!) I've also seen his house, which is as fun as his paintings. I can't wait to see Gala's castle!

I really like this painting in particular because of the dimension created by the spheres. In a way, this painting reminds me of Dali's "Hallucenogenic Matador" because of the fact that there is more to the image than there seems, meaning that you have to look at it in different ways to fully appreciate it (at least I think so). In this painting, Dali creates an illusion of depth by "layering" spheres on top of each other which makes Gala's face appear to be 3D, when in actuality it is not (because its on a 2D canvas, duh). I also like this painting because of the contrast between the blue of the sky and the "earthy tones" which would be the tans, browns and peachy oranges of Gala's face, neck and hair. Brown/orange and blue are complimentary colors (technically orange and blue are compliments, but brown and orange are closely related) which makes these colors stand out against each other or "pop" even more than another pairing of colors would. But what I find most interesting about this painting is that despite the fact that there are many spheres in this piece, Gala's face doesn't seem to be distorted. Everything (by that I mean her features like her eyes, mouth, nose, etc.) looks evenly proportioned, which is amazing. Everything seems to fit perfectly. Dali's painting appears so smooth and effortless, and the fluidity of the painting is breathtaking! :)

-Caroline Peeters (:

Adrian B, 2 said...

I love these types of paitings, they're a real head-scratcher. When i first see this painting all I saw were spheres randomly placed but if ypu look past the first glance, tou see a work of art appear. Usually these paintings are 2-D with two figures instead of just 1 (like the two men/ one vase puzzle), but this is the first one I've seen that uses 3-D objects to create an image. This artist definetly has an imagination, because I would have never guessed that the position of a few diffrent, colored spheres would make something like this.

Tori Zimmerman said...

I love the inward 3D effect of the picture. The orbs look like they are floating. I also like the way that the colors get darker the further back the orbs seem to go. Each piece of the picture really helps put the entire picture together. Lovely! The spacing is also very nice. The spacing gives the picture the effect that each orb is the same distance away from all any other neighboring orb, when it really isn't. I like the spheres and how there is slight shadowing on the spheres so that you know that they are spheres and not just circles.

William BK said...

This is a very interesting peice of art, and it seems to just have this circular motion to it... also i think its trippy in a way. but the artist is extremely talented in the colors and shapes he/she uses.

Anonymous said...

I really love this piece of artwork. All the spheres going in the circular motion create a sense of dizziness when you look at it. Also the contrast between the 3D and 2D help increase its importance. I really like that the artist chose spheres instead of another 3D object.

Moncerrad Esquivel said...

Salvador Dali is one talented artist. His wife and muse Gala was beautifully portrayed in this painting, "Galatea of The Spheres". I noticed that he creates his wife with perfect orbs, perhaps in a way to show us that he thought of her as being flawless. Something else I also noticed is the great contrast between 2D and 3D objects, they greatly compliment each other. The cool colors against the warm colors give it a nice overall form. I absolutely adore this panting and hope that one day I'll be lucky enough to be able to see his museum along with the rest of his art.

Jonathan Hong said...

Wow this painting is amazing, it was the art piece that drew my attention the most. The painting itself is actually a pattern or columns of spheres. The artistic ability of this artist is astounding. He not only used shading and slight contrast to make the spheres, but he also arranged them into the face of a woman. He also managed to use shading to make some of the spheres a part of the sky yet retain its shape. There is a sense of balance coming from the artist using the same shapes over and over again and movement also be found in the art piece through the bouncing balls on the bottom and through the zooming effect of the columns of spheres on the painting if you look closely enough.

Jonathan Hong
Period 2

Amanda Perry said...

I like this piece because of the complexity involved. There are so many ways to look at it and interpret it. The spheres create a sense of depth and dimension, while the woman's face creates a sense of 2D flat paint. I love what the shadows do also. They create a kind of illusion of space. All together it creates a beautiful and original work of art.

-Amanda Perry
2nd period

Jordan C. said...

i love this painting!
I'm intrigued by the complex simplicity of it. The your eye is drawn to the depth of it but then you find yourself curious about the outer spheres. The ones at the top have been painted to appear that they're moving which grasps your attention. With the colors and dynamics of the painting as a whole, it works but at the same time it makes it seem like there are different parts to the painting.

Seth Nelson said...

I love how the spheres in this picture seperate the mood that you feel when you see it. Without the orbs floating around within the canvas, this would just be an ordinary painting; it would only be mildly interesting. However,with the added textural breaks, you see the painting in a whole new way. I also noticed that as the circles progress, they also show a kind of progression deeper into the person depicted in the piece of art. This work kind of gives me a somewhat better idea of what surrealism is. Dali's unique style intrigues me.

Seth Nelson said...

I love how the spheres in this picture seperate the mood that you feel when you see it. Without the orbs floating around within the canvas, this would just be an ordinary painting; it would only be mildly interesting. However,with the added textural breaks, you see the painting in a whole new way. I also noticed that as the circles progress, they also show a kind of progression, deeper into the person depicted in the piece of art. This work kind of gives me a somewhat better idea of what surrealism is. Dali's unique style intrigues me.

Nick okafor said...

this truly is a beautiful work of art
how he expressed his love and the beauty of his wife by actually using circles and curved lines
to a point, t does has perspective, to where it comes out
and the variations of hue brings out the depth of the shapes
although at a first glance, it may just resemble his wife, but there was fine detail added to this piece
there is actually 6*5 rows of circles and they are all deriving from the center then coming out perfectly symmetrical
the values in this work of art brings out the beauty

Vanessa W - 4 said...

This is an etremely interesting
painting. When you first look at this painting your eye doesn't go to any one thing. It goes all over the page to get the full effect of the painting.

The artist uses space really well; The circles are spheres and are 3-D.The whole piece is 3-D. If the spheres were circles, this painting would be etremely boring. It makes you feel like you could jump into the painting and be in this vast space that goes on and on.

The artist uses color to make spheres look like a portrait. If the color of the spheres were solid you wouldn't have the portrait. It goes to show how important color is to art.

-Vanessa W 4

Foster D said...

this is amazing how he creates a 3 dimensional figure on a 2 dimensional canvas with depth, highlighting, and shadowing. it is a very smooth piece