Face of war

Salvador Dali • Painting, 1941, 79×100 cm
About the artwork
This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Landscape, Portrait
Style of art: Surrealism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1941
Size: 79×100 cm
Artwork in selections: 72 selections
Audio guide

Description of the artwork «Face of war»

“The Face of War” is one of the rare works of Dali, which does not have several interpretations or different interpretations. Given the environment in which it was created, it is unlikely that the picture could be different.

The Second World War overtook the artist in Paris, where he lived and worked with his wife Gala. In 1940, after the capitulation of France, the couple hurriedly sent overseas to the United States. According to legend, already in the process of travel, he begins to paint a picture that expresses the horror and absurdity of what is happening in Europe.

The symbols that Dali uses for this are transparent and simple: wriggling snakes and skulls multiply exponentially in empty eye sockets and silently unfolded, distorted by the suffering of the mouth. The face of war, lifeless and ugly, rests on the sand of the vast desert, where there are only sharp rocks.

In the right corner, the artist left an imprint of his hand - as a sign of belonging and not indifferent to what is happening. He practically deprived the canvas of color: all the work was done in different shades of brown, like a burnt-out old photograph. Only in the distance, in the gaps of the sky covered with a rusty haze, one can see a pale shade of blue, like a faint hope of peace.

There would be no happiness, but misfortune helped - for the time spent in a foreign land, Dali unleashes a vigorous activity and makes a breakthrough in his career. He tries his hand as a jeweler, illustrator and even a writer, having published his autobiography "The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, written by him." He makes friends with rock stars and filmmakers, develops scenery for Alfred Hitchcock’s filmstrip and plans a joint cartoon with Walt Disney. But, despite the demand in the United States, he inexorably pulls home.

After eight years of exile in a voluntary exile, Dali and his wife returned home. And although the war was left behind, the memories of her still stir the soul of the artist. They are devoted to the painting "Elephants"(1948), and the testing of atomic weapons of mass destruction in the mid-1940s gave rise to new experiences in it, which were reflected in a whole series of works:"Atom splitting","Atomic Leda","Atomic melancholy". But perhaps none of them are close in expression to the "Face of War".

The author: Natalia Azarenko