Salvador Dali Belief System

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Salvador Dali – Explore and analyse the metamorphosis of Dali’s belief system through his art Salvador Dali was an artist; known not only for his tremendous artistic talent and flamboyant and eccentric personality, but also for the greater meaning he entwined into his art. His contrasting beliefs led to an interesting metamorphosis of his belief system. Dali struggled between religion and science, due to conflicting family influences from his childhood and personal experiences which he would go on to endeavour in life. Dali’s initial works commenced by experimenting specifically with scientific themes and ideas, which can be noted in one his most famous paintings; The Persistence of Memory (1931). However as his life progressed, Dali’s new reincarnated interest in religion, mysticism and metaphysics led him to believe that religion and science co-exist simultaneously, which he portrayed through his artwork. Dali developed conflicting views regarding religion from a very young age. The artist grew up in a household where his mother’s family were devout Catholics; however his father was a firm atheist. Dali’s early views on religion were explicitly expressed in his drawing Sometimes I spit with Pleasure on the Portrait of my Mother (The Sacred Heart) (1929). This abstract themed drawing of what appears to be the silhouette of Jesus Christ is incredibly blasphemous. The hand written “Parfois Je crache pour plaisir sur la portrait de ma mère “literally translates to “Sometimes I spit with pleasure on the portrait of my mother”. The drawing is done in black ink on a plain white canvas. This simple colour scheme proves to be very effective, as it delivers the message very clearly and graphically. However, the simple nature of this particular drawing reflects what artists and literary figures from previous generations would have potentially branded as a “simple” and “earthly” mind due to the lack of belief in religion and one’s higher self. The style of writing could almost be associated with the types of print associated with cartoons. This just further reflects the lack of seriousness on Dali’s behalf. On the drawing, the words “ma mere” are specifically written in a bolder and larger size compared to the rest of the sentence. This effect makes these two words stand out in particular, emphasising Dali’s abhorrence towards his mother’s belief system. The small drawing in the centre of the silhouette with the Christian symbol of the cross represents Dali’s version of “The Sacred Heart”. This heart which he has drawn appears to be a very deformed heart. According to Christian beliefs, The Sacred Heart is a devotional name used by Catholics to refer to the physical heart of Jesus Christ, as a symbol of divine love. The devotion especially emphasizes the unmitigated love, compassion, and long-suffering of the heart of Christ towards humanity. By illustrating this “Sacred Heart” as deformed, Dali atrociously insulted his mother’s beliefs. This scandalous portrayal of the priesthood clearly reflects how Dali and his father viewed the priesthood as heavily corrupted, ignorant and hypocritical. The deformed heart reinstates how he thought the Catholic Church had deformed views, beliefs and a deformed lifestyle. Dali was an artist who formed part of the Surrealism movement. “In the surrealist period, I wanted to create the iconography of the interior world – the world of the marvellous, of my father Freud. I succeeded in doing it. Today the exterior world – that of physics – has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr Heisenberg” (Salvador Dalí, quoted in Elliott H. King, ‘Nuclear Mysticism’, Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire, p. 247). The artists from the surrealist era introduced the theory of the liberation of desire through the invention of techniques that aimed to reproduce the mechanisms of dreams (Centre Pompidou, 2007). From a very young age, Dali was an avaricious learner of science and extensively read many...
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