Poetry of America

Salvador Dali • Painting, 1943, 116×79 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Allegorical scene
Style of art: Surrealism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1943
Size: 116×79 cm
Artwork in selections: 23 selections

Description of the artwork «Poetry of America»

The painting "Poetry of America - Space Athletes" is a classic Dali. In the sense that the artist’s manner is easily recognizable. The work belongs to the American period. In 1940, Dali left for the USA and explained his choice: “If Hitler had conquered Europe, he would have sent all hysterics like me to the next world. He equated everyone like me in Germany with the mentally ill and destroyed him. So I’m out of the way with the Nazis. ”

"Poetry of America" reflects the artist's thoughts about the future of the country. A lot of mysteries are encrypted in it (a favorite technique of Salvador Dali), and guesses help to answer the question: “What did the author want to say?” In the case of the Great Catalan - one of the most relevant questions.

So, in the background of the picture under the arch, almost resting on it, stands the clock tower. On the arch itself some kind of frescoes, which were painted by Renaissance masters, is guessed. The landscape fancifully combines the features of desert America and native to Salvador Dali Catalonia.

Here is the first riddle: Why such murals and why such a landscape?
Answer: Perhaps Salvador Dali so wanted to show that the United States became "as if his homeland." Of course, NOT the motherland, in the full meaning of the word, but "as it were." For example, he himself always admired the art of old masters and considered himself the heir to himself, and called all modern painting garbage. Dali decorated the "Poetry of America" with frescoes, and thereby emphasized the importance of American culture. At least for myself.

The second riddle: Why such a tower, such a watch and a hide under it?
Answer: The tower is a symbol of skyscrapers in the States. They are huge and dark - they put pressure on a person, leaving him with one tiny door leading to freedom. The shape of the watch is strict and clear, no floating and soft lines with which Dali painted his “signature watches” in other paintings. And this is a direct indication of the attitude of Americans towards time. No Spanish and Catalan "manna". Time is money! And the skin in the shape of the African continent just indicates where it came from in the USA.

Third riddle: What do the unnatural figures of men in the foreground mean?
Answer: The figures really seem suspended in mid-air. On the head of men are helmets for playing American football. The white “player” looks completely exhausted. He's about to fall. A powerful dark-skinned figure bursts from his back, picking up an object resembling a ball for a national game or an egg. So Dali shows that soon white America will give way to dark-skinned America. And the second figure only reinforces this idea. Liquid spills from the chest of the right space athlete, passing into a bottle with Coca-Cola, turning, in turn, into a telephone receiver, and then into something very reminiscent of a heart shape. It fits on a white circuit board tied to the legs of athletes. So the symbols of America of that time - Cola and phones - will give rise to something new, whose heart is already formed. Coca-Cola, most likely.

The fourth riddle. Why is the right figure in one shoe? Why does she have such hands and a candle instead of a face?
One boot shows that Dali, who came from an old European woman, did not consider the Americans to be one hundred percent civilized. There is a candle in my head about this too: they have not yet grown to electricity. And tow sticking out of the hands is a symbol of the impossibility to accomplish what the candle is burning about.

Fifth riddle: Why does a drawer stick out from the butt of a white athlete?
Sigmund Freud, whom Dali respected very, highly, argued that such a box in a dream symbolizes hidden sexual desires. In this case, based on the location, they are most likely homosexual. Dali himself did not mind when he was called bisexual.

However, what else is an artist good for: all riddles generously scattered across his canvases are each free to interpret in their own way.

Author: Elena Siroid