The Burning Giraffe
In Paris in the mid 1920’s surrealism became the new art movement and was widespread and lasting. The movement was characterised by pictures that contained detailed, strange and unnerving objects with dream like character. The art has a visually striking, controversial and bizarre quality, which was the result of the rejected ‘need’ for rational thought and behaviour. Salvador Dali described the art as ‘’hand painted dream photographs’’. This description pinpoints the realistic detail that was contrasted with surreal images. ‘The Burning Giraffe’ Salvador Dali was painted during his exile in the United States, but shows his personal struggle with the battle in his home country of Spain. It was painted before the Second World War and Dali believed the burning giraffe was a premonition of war. Dali interpreted the image of a giraffe with its back ablaze as "the masculine cosmic apocalyptic monster". The painting illustrates ideas of death- through war, loss of individuality and the weakness of society.
In contrast to the usual surrealist obsession with unconscious thought, Salvador Dali described his technique as the “paranoiac-critical method.” He employed this technique to create ‘The burning Giraffe’ which allowed him to paint many optical allusions to create a dreamlike state. Surrealists painted with a high level of detail to create a sense of realism within the ‘dream’. Dali’s style is precise and this enhances the ‘dream’ or ‘nightmare’ effect of ‘The burning Giraffe’. Dali used thinned oil paints as well as dense oil paints on a panel, which were traditional at the time. Salvador Dali was one of the many surrealist painters that often incorporated images of women into their work. Many male surrealist painters had a typical male attitude towards women such as worshipping them symbolically through stereotypes and sexist norms. Surrealists including Salvador Dali had an interest in...
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