Surrealism, the history of a great art movement

The Hallucinogenic Toreador

Salvador Dali - Hallucinogenic Toreador

The Hallucinogenic Toreador (Le torero hallucinogène) is one of the major artworks of Salvador Dali on which he worked for two years. This canvas intrigues and pushes towards interpretation.

Description of the work

This painting is oil on canvas dating from 1970. It is a picture that is full of elements and symbols. The painting is about bullfighting scene which is bounded by an arena. The dominant tones of the work are red and yellow. In the upper left corner, one can distinguish the portrait of the wife and muse of Dali, Gala. A bull dripping blood draws attention; hence the discs emerge from the back of the animal, where it was hit. The most shown element on this canvas is the Venus de Milo, represented 28 times. The statue had already been shown in previous works by Dali.

Symbolism of the painting

Bottom right, a little boy in marine clothing is shown. This child is Dali himself, contemplating his work. Multitudes of flies are represented in different parts of the painting. They are a symbol of putrefaction.

It also distinguishes the bust of Voltaire in the red drapery of the Venus whose face is formed by the silhouettes of two women walking, sophisticated demonstration of the art of Dali, the "paranoiac-critical".

Little story, the message of the work

Dali will say about this work that he was inspired by buying a box of crayons of a brand named "Venus" where the statue was represented. He then wanted to associate it with a vision of the bullfighter that would have had when opening the box. In addition to this vision, the message of the work, as often in Dali's paintings, is death and resurrection. The child represents him but also his dead brother, with the same name as him of which Dali is the symbol of the resurrection himself, as well as the life lay by flies.

Quote by Salvador Dali

“Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.”
See more quote by Salvador Dali

Dali book
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