Sleep (1937)


Dali’s Sleep is a completely fascinating painting. Surrealists believed you could tap into the subconscious mind and the freedom it experiences while dreaming and use this in one’s art. When Dali painted this, he used the same ideology and attempted to capture the typical dreamscape onto his canvas.

In order to add emphasis to the head, Dali enlarged it to a colossal size. He set the painting against a deep blue sky fading into a pale yellow land to contrast the background with the central theme of the painting, the head, which is a bold yellow. The distorted head appears fragile, held by crutches, and the eyes are shut, deep in sleep. Dali implies that without the crutches, the head would not be able to stand. Therefore, gravity is still in play, even in dreams, and if the crutches were removed, the head would fall. Thus, Dali exemplifies the feeling that we are falling in his painting. It is also important to observe that the serenity yet strangeness of the painting is also achieved through the lack of a neck as we know it; instead, the neck is stretched out and limply hangs from one of the wooden crutches. Dali creates a sense of rhythm by using several crutches to support the head rather than just one. The crutches are positioned strategically, making the painting “balanced and harmonic–suggesting continuity between the dream (represented by the sleepy head) and the reality (represented by the crutches)” (Gadish). Dali produces a 3D-like atmosphere by placing the large head in the center/front of the painting, the castle on the right and the dog on the left.

Photo courtesy of FDW


November 20, 2012. Uncategorized.

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