Salvador Dali – Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening Analysis

5 May 2016

Salvador Dalí was born May 11, 1904 in Figueres, Spain. He was a writer, filmmaker and painter. From a young age, he was encouraged to paint, despite the weak relationship between him and his father due to domestic violence caused by his own fits. At 16, his mother passed away from Breast Cancer, and his father married Dalí’s aunt.

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Salvador Dalí went to the art school Academia de San Fernando in Spain, and rather than taking it seriously, he dressed oddly and preferred to daydream during classes. He was expelled. The rise of Franco in Spain led to Dalí’s expulsion from the Surrealist movement, but that did not prevent him from painting. He later married Elena Dmitrievna Diakonova, or simply known as Gala, which became his muse and inspiration.

When Dalí was still in school, he studied many artist movements in which one was Dada, a post-World War I anti-establishment cultural movement. Although apolitical, it philosophically influenced his paintings. He also travelled to Paris, France and met up with Pablo Picasso, whom he highly respected. He also met Joan Miro, Paul Eluard and Rene Magritte, who introduced Dalí to Surrealism.

Dalí’s paintings became associated with three general themes: depicting a measure of man’s universe and his sensations, the use of collage; and objects charged with sexual symbolism, and ideographic imagery.

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening, or Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee for short, shows quite a few of his themes, including sexual symbolism depicted by Gala Dalí his wife, his idea of the degree of universe in a dream and also collages of images from his dream.

André Breton, whose manifesto the Surrealist movement was based off, first formed surrealist art: “Pure psychic automatism, by which one proposes to express, either verbally, in writing, or by any other manner, the real functioning of thought. Dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation.”

Surrealism was illogical, unexpected juxtapositions of disparate elements in collages, and at first, it was a highly controversial movement, often insisted to be referred to as ‘revolutionary”. The group’s works consisted of unreal and or dreamlike images of everyday objects, twisted and distorted into paintings and writings of ‘art’.

In Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee, it is extremely perverse for a fish to burst out of a pomegranate, then to spew out a tiger, which in turn spews out another one tiger and a bayonet – only to sting Gala in the arm. It is clear that this is an image that was generated by the mind, and shown on canvas.

Although it seems exceedingly impossible, the style of art is intended to be generally surreal. Dalí chose to paint Gala as his subject because he loved her so much; she was his motivation and source of his creativity. Due to his desolate past, he had probably not been as close to anyone as much as Gala to use her as his subject in many of his paintings, including Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee.

It shows us as viewers a glimpse of his personal life, his choice of thought to put his subjects in a certain composition. Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee was composed very well, as it has a clear meaning, as well as it showing through in the title of the piece.

Formal Analytical Framework
Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee was painted with oil paints on canvas, which allows for the realistic finish of unrealistic matter. The fine details were rendered by brush, which creates the smooth appearance. Salvador Dalí has used many elements and principles, which are incorporated to make Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee.

One of the main elements shown is colour; the vibrant colours exaggerate the current occurrence. The bright yellows used to paint the tigers are false to the real colour of tigers, which brings out the focal point of the artwork.

The contrast of colours also helps separate the background from the objects. The colour of the background has more white blended into it, forming a hazy effect, as compared to the tigers, the fish and the pomegranate, where the colours are more pure with fewer colours mixed in. Gala, atop the rock slab, is more a neutral colour to balance out the painting.

Dalí has also used colour as a way of representing something, for example the yellow and black stripe on the tiger to represent a bee’s body. Although not as obvious, tone has also been used to highlight the three-dimensional feel.

The overall mood created by these elements has produced a dreamlike texture, with the soft background, and the surrealisticallity of the objects. The composition of this Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee also plays a considerably large part in forming this piece. The first thing a viewer might see is Gala and the tigers, followed by the strange elephant in the background, then followed by all the smaller details.

By putting the tigers close to center, it emphasizes the meaning of the piece, as the viewer slowly starts to out the story together. There is also a certain rhythm of the arrangement, especially of the pomegranates, and the overall composition of the tigers and bayonet coming out of the fish, out of the larger pomegranate.

This certain arrangement forms a bee, which is repeated towards center bottom, under Gala. In Dream Caused by a Flight of a Bee, “A typical dream with a long theme, the consequences of a sudden accident that causes the awakening”, Salvador Dalí has used many symbols, in which some include a bee, an insect that traditionally symbolizes the Virgin.

The pomegranate with the two droplets of suspended water can be used as a Christian symbol of fertility and resurrection, or it could also represent Venus because of the heart-shaped shadow it casts. The fish, two tigers and bayonet supposedly make up the body of a bee, showing the two sides of the bee’s symbolism.

The elephant carrying an obelisk is allegedly a distorted version of “Pulcino Della Minerva” sculpture in Rome. Dalí has explored to some extent his idea of the world of dreams in a dreamscape, and has shown the events in which a dream can occur, and the split second a person (Gala) could be awoken by just a small provocation.

The main subject of the painting is Gala, whom he loved so much, and that perhaps the bee sting in form of a bayonet she dreamt of could violently wake her. References

BIO. 2013. Salvador Dalí Biography. [online] Available at: http://www.biography.com/people/salvador-dal%C3%AD-40389 [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. Learner.org. 2013. Art Through Time: A Global View – Dream, Caused by the Flight of a Bee (Around a Pomegranate, a Second Before Waking Up).

[online] Available at: http://www.learner.org/courses/globalart/work/59/index.html [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. Studymode.com. 2013. Art Analysis Salvador Dahli – Essay. [online] Available at: http://www.studymode.com/essays/Art-Analysis-Salvador-Dahli-194785.html [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013]. wikipedia.org. 2013.

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening. [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Caused_by_the_Flight_of_a_Bee_Around_a_Pomegranate_a_Second_Before_Awakening [Accessed: 21 Oct 2013].

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