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The spectre and the ghost (1931)
Le spectre et le fantôme
Analysis: “Le Spectre et le Fantôme” is one of a series of paintings that shared a theme of spectral and phantom appearances. In a letter to the French Surrealist poet Paul Eluard, Dalí defined the clouds and the rainbow as being the spectre and the brick shape as being the phantom. The clouds take on forms as the viewer stares at them, reflecting the basis of Dalí’s paranoia-critical method.
The work has the same female figure as in “Mediumistic-Paranoiac Image“. The woman is in the foreground, sitting in a puddle on a beach. She is a combination of Dalí’s nurse, his friend Lydia and another of Dalí’s obsessions from that time which was to cause him trouble in the future: Hitler. His obsession with Hitler was partly caused by what he called the “soft flesh” of his back, which was tightly held in by his uniform. He dreamt of him as a wet nurse sitting knitting in a puddle. The woman in the painting has a small cut taken out of her back that emphasizes this obsession with “Hitlerian” flesh.