0328-The dream approaches (1932)

Oil on canvas, 54,3 x 65,1 cm Perls Galleries, New-York

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The dream approaches (1932)
Le rêve approche

Analysis: “The Dream Approaches” has the haunting atmosphere of a dream, aided by a luminescent pre-dawn sky. In the foreground of the painting is a potentially coffin-shaped form, over which white material is draped. On the right side of this block is a large cocoon shape, its opening suggesting the female genitalia. Standing on the sandy beach is a naked man, classical in form as well as stance, with one hand raised and his hips tilted. The brushwork on his body creates the illusion that dark flames are swirling along his back.
On the right, next to two trees that are still half in darkness, is a tall tower with one solitary window at the top. The tower seems like a ruin as the plaster is falling away and there are cracks along it. Amongst other paintings, this tower can also be seen in “The Horseman of Death” (1934). Towers appear in Dalí’s work as a symbol of desire and death. In his autobiographical writings, Dalí explained this as owing to his childhood memories of a mill tower, where he had felt both sexual and violent urges toward a girl.

0295-The dream (1931)

Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm Private collection

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The dream (1931)
Le rêve

Analysis: By the 1930’s, Surrealist painting had moved toward the arena of dreams for inspiration and relied less on the ideas of automatism that had marked the beginning of the movement. “The Dream” was painted in 1931 but the main image, the woman’s head, had first appeared the year before in “The Font“, where, although in the background, it was a striking and dominant feature. Dalí found the inspiration for the woman from a scene on a box and a monument in Barcelona.
In the foreground of this dark painting is the bust of a woman, painted in dull, metallic grays, her hair floating above her as if frozen in movement. The colors used and her apparent immobility bring to mind the classical myth of Medusa. The woman has no mouth and her eyes also appear sealed shut, like those of the giant head in “Sleep“. The absence of a mouth, together with the seeming immobility of the woman implies a loss of control, of paralysis. Ants crawl across the face in the place where a mouth should be. As a child, Dalí had found a pet bat crawling with ants and so, for him, they became symbols of death and decay.