Daddy Longlegs of the Evening-Hope by Salvador Dali

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Daddy Longlegs of the Evening-Hope!, created in 1940 using oil painting, falls between Salvador Dali’s periods of Classicism and Surrealism. Immediately upon viewing the painting, it caught my attention due to the extreme detail and abnormal nature of it (like most Dali paintings). Each of the objects in the painting itself is done with remarkable precision. The scene is viewing an apocalyptic desert-like field, intended to review the horrors of World War II, which during that time-period was a critical topic. With that being said, Dali used a plethora symbolic references to World War II in the painting.

In the upper left-hand corner of the painting is a cannon which is held up by a physical crutch, possibly symbolizing death and war. Two apparent objects spill out of the mouth of the cannon, a structureless jelly-like biplane and a ferocious whiteish-grey stallion. The airplane, along with the nearby winged figure, could be a possible representation of the saying victory born of a broken wing, as Dali explained. Dali felt that the use of air power would be a key victory factor in the war, which was proven partially true according to my knowledge of the outcome of World War II. The horse is painted in great detail, clearly in mid-gallop with its muscles and facial features created an with an obvious contortion possibly implying power, speed, and control. The white stallion symbolizes one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, tying into the Apocalyptical 1940s theme of the painting.

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Near the center of the painting is another jelly-like figure, which Dali refers to as a soft self-portrait. The body is drooped over a dying tree with two inkwells placed on the top of its torso while holding an also soft violin. The inkwells are usually representative of the signing of legal documents, such as a treaty, although Salvador Dali tends to use them as an expression of sexuality also. Although it’s very hard to see in the picture, if you look closely you may see ants feasting on the soft head of the figure. Typically, Dali uses ants in his artwork to symbolize decay and decomposition, due to their nature to eat everything on/in the ground and return the decaying object to it’s natural chemical structure. Because of this reason, Dali often uses ants as a symbol death and decay (which is the basis of most of his artworks).

I genuinely find great interest in what Salvador Dali is trying to express in his many surrealism paintings. The use of expressionism in art is vital and personally utterly effective for me since all human beings deal with unconscious thoughts. Salvador Dali is adept at bringing to light to a variation of ideas that come from dreams or real-life instances, exposing certain things that we may unconsciously repress.

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