0236-Surrealist composition (1928)

Oil on canvas, 62,5 x 75,5 cm Private collection

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Surrealist composition (1928)
Composition surréaliste

Analysis: Dalí gave this picture a new name in 1964, “Inaugural gooseflesh“. Here the diagonal construction is used again. The visible material in the picture would seem to place it with the works painted in 1927 such as “Blood Is Sweeter Than Honey” in that series which Lorca called “Apparatus Forest”. “Inaugural Gooseflesh” is painted in the same style but as an afterthought; it is the result of the works of this period and of the paintings done at the same time in 1928 such as “Bathers” with the gravel collage. The composition is already the product of a hypnagogic image similar to that which Dalí repeated often in his Surrealist works -we see an example of it in “Portrait of Paul Eluard” – little rodlike cells in suspension above an oblong object. Dalí has given an explanation of it in his book “Le Mythe tragique de L’Angelus de Millet“. “In 1929, for the first time, one of those very clear images appeared to me, most probably following many others, although I cannot find any antecedent for it in my memory. This happened in Cadaqués when I was in the act of pulling violently at the oars, and it consisted of a white shape illuminated by the sun, stretched out at full length, cylindrical in form with rounded extremities, showing several irregularities. This form is Iying down on the maroon-purplish-blue soil. All its periphery is bristling with little black rodlike cells appearing in suspension in all directions like flying sticks.” Dalí continues, “The numbering in the pictures probably corresponds to my unconscious interest in the metric system. In June 1927 I had written an article, ‘The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian” which appeared in L’Ami Des Arts, about which Lorca had said that it was the most poetic text he had ever read. In this article I explained how one could measure the suffering of Saint Sebastian just as with degrees on a thermometer, each arrow being a sort of gradation adding and measuring the amount of suffering. It was at the same time that Lorca wrote in his ‘Ode to Salvador Dalí,’ ‘A desire for forms and limits overwhelms us. The man who measures with the yellow yardstick comes.’ At that time I was preoccupied with all the systems of weights and measures, and numbers were appearing everywhere I was already preoccupied with the metric system, the numerical division of worldly things.”