Illumined Pleasures (1929) by Salvador Dali

Illumined Pleasures - Salvador Dali - 1929

Artwork Information

TitleIllumined Pleasures
ArtistSalvador Dali
Mediumcollage,Oil on Board
Dimensions23.8 x 34.7 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US

About Illumined Pleasures

The artwork titled “Illumined Pleasures,” created by Salvador Dali in 1929, is a symbolic painting that reflects the Surrealist movement. This piece, crafted using a combination of collage and oil on board, measures 23.8 by 34.7 cm and is housed in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The artwork unites the dreamlike and bizarre elements that are characteristic of Dali’s vision, presenting viewers with an enigmatic scene rich in symbolism.

As for the artwork itself, it features a diverse range of surreal elements, typically discordant, yet assembled into a coherent scene. At first glance, the piece is segmented into various compartments or ‘boxes,’ each depicting a different theme or subject matter. We can observe in one section a bizarre fusion of human and animal forms, represented by a figure with a lion’s head that merges with a woman’s profile. In another, scenes that may evoke thoughts of an expansive, nearly empty public space become a backdrop for a single, egg-shaped form with a human figure standing next to it.

One can notice, prominently displayed in the center, a transparent compartment where a distorted, disembodied elephant seems to float against a serene, blue backdrop. This contrasts with more chaotic elements, such as a swirling, fiery explosion on the left.

A repeating motif appears in the bottom right compartment, where a multitude of cyclists is intricately, even obsessively, detailed, illustrating perhaps the mechanical repetition and the collective subconscious, both concepts central to Surrealistic thought. Across the artwork, there’s a consistent interplay of light and shadow, fluid and solid forms, as well as the animate and the inanimate, creating an unsettling yet mesmerizing tableau that provokes contemplation and introspection. This multifaceted composition is a testament to Dali’s renowned ability to invite viewers into his visionary world where conventional reality is routinely subverted and reimagined.

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