“What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust.” — Salvador Dali
We visited The Dali last week and have definitely been exposed to the “never seen.” It is always interesting to learn what specific images an artist has drawn inspiration from and what an artist’s sensitivity uncovers in a seemingly ordinary object or scene. Dali was often asked what inspired him to paint a melting clock into the stark landscape of Persistence of Memory and his answer was that a piece of melting camembert cheese inspired the image of the melting clock. Dali was also very inspired by the advances in nuclear science at the time. Jake’s favorite Dali painting was a tabletop still life reinterpreted to show the constant motion of subatomic particles in seemingly static objects. Lily and I returned to the museum today for a slideshow presentation on Dali’s later works which discussed still another source of inspiration in classical works of art and religious themes. While the curator discussed the symbolism of the works and showed classical pieces and the Dali reinterpretations, Lily and I quietly passed back and forth a drawing we were working on of princesses, cats and sailboats, our symbols for happy days. Lily’s princess had quite elaborate hair and I felt certain Dali’s influence was emerging just a bit. So, after the presentation, I asked what we had learned. She wasn’t sure. “Well, at least we practiced sitting still,” I said and she nodded with a smile. I looked down with satisfaction at the prince I had drawn beside her fancy princess. Really, we are far from being able to call forth a planetary Baghdad from our dreams. Yet I have learned one thing that I think will stand me well in drawings to come. If you have to draw a prince to go with your daughter’s fancy princess, don’t forget an elaborate dark handlebar mustache. It does wonders for an otherwise ho-hum prince.