Observations Of "The Temptation Of St. Anthony"

Essay add: 16-03-2016, 16:11   /   Views: 28
Observations Of "The Temptation Of St. Anthony"

Salvador Dali is a master painter who has honed his abilities in the arenas of style, technical skill, representation, realistic rendering, concept, and thus, above all else, surrealism. His method and motivation, surrealism, he defined as the effort to take implausible situations, ridiculous ideas, the grotesque, and translate them in a manner that suggested their reality. This idea is something for which Dali came to be known. A great example of his surrealistic efforts and his master’s skills is painting called "The Temptation of St. Anthony." There are many aspects to this painting that identify with the idea of the surreal and indicate extreme skill in technicalities and concept.

First, look at how surreal the painting is. Look at it, and for a second take time to recognize how grotesque the images Dali has rendered are. Don’t you feel the overpowering size of these long legged beasts bearing down upon you? Don’t you feel the strain through which St. Anthony is going? The idea of long legged horses and elephants, isn’t it rather implausible, rather surreal? Dali puts the beholder in a world that he has created, bearing qualities over which he has all the power. This makes this work surreal. The narrative of the painting could not take place in the world that we know because there are no such long legged beasts to impose upon us their force.

But notice too, then how the surrealism is achieved. Dali attains a truly surreal world with his technical skill and his realistic rendering of a grotesque concept. Another very successful aspect of this then painting is the technicalities of brushwork and the actual application of paint. His ability to render is paramount and it is the skill with which he does the actual painting that makes this and other paintings everything they are. Dali has an extreme sensitivity to the intricacies of realism with pinpoint accuracy about detail and brushwork. His brush strokes are literally invisible and his lines are so cautiously selected and applied that his paintings seem like photographs of some strange world. Outside brush strokes and line, his work , particularly "The Temptation of St. Anthony," exhibits an extreme sensitivity to the ideas of color and light. The sky is a great example. His hues are of believable intensities and values and as sky usually does, they vary according to some natural progression of change. Also, in terms of light, Dali has a great hold on the temperature of color as it is affected by light. The horse in the forefront is a great example of this. But arguably Dali’s best technical ability is his control over perspective, particularly atmospheric perspective, which allows his worlds to have real atmosphere and space. With out such an evident atmosphere, his concepts wouldn’t be so skillfully represented. This is achieved with a great hold on the effect that space has on the resolution of objects, which is clear as one looks far off into the distance of "The Temptation of St. Anthony." Look at the front horse compared to the elephant so far away, and recognize the difference in clarity between the two. All of these qualities are what make the surreal concepts flesh out.

But ultimately, the technicalities and the grotesque would be nothing without the wild concepts that Dali concocts. For it is these concepts that make the work so effective. In "The Temptation of St. Anthony," the concepts are wild. There are towering elephants with extremely long legs parading, like humans towards a quivering individual straining to fend them off. There is a confrontation between man and animal in which animal takes charge and takes on almost human qualities of procedure. And the freakish elephants come donning golden trinkets of sexual desire, with which they will tempt this poor saint brought down from there animal palace far off in the sky. What? None of this really happens. There are no such gold-toting elephants, no such sky-high palaces. And possibly the very most implausible idea in the painting is how St. Anthony himself straining towards the elephants bearing witness to his faith, is clear and the horizon can be seen straight through him.

All of these things work towards the concept, implausible, as it may be, that Dali chooses to offer. The ideas become real life manifestations of a symbolic world that take hold of the viewer and invite him in for the show. They work to create a feel that, in the case of Dali, is open to personal interpretation, offering a look at things that normally isn’t taken. As for the meanings behind the works of Salvador Dali, that is a case that is open to the masses for he has said himself that he might not even know what they are all to mean.

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