Salvador Dali’s “Living Still Life” is an oil on canvas painting created in 1956 during a period known as “Nuclear Mysticism,” which explores the relationship between quantum physics and the conscious mind. The painting, named after the French phrase “nature morte” meaning “dead nature,” reflects Dali’s views on life and spirituality. It currently resides at The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The unique Surrealist piece features phallic symbols and a reinterpretation of traditional still life in characteristic Dali fashion. The artist has been noted for his ground-breaking approach to surrealism, with comparisons made to artists such as Zurbaran and Hieronymus Bosch. Considered a significant symbol of Dali’s artistic work, “Living Still Life” embodies his overall contributions to surrealism.
The name itself describes the paradoxes contained within the painting: living vs. still, dead vs. alive. As art enthusiasts examine it more closely, they may find themselves challenged by its unconventional nature of reconciling opposing forces into one image that defies conventional meaning-making processes. Thus, this particular artwork remains not only famous among aesthetic circles but also a central masterpiece for psychoanalytical interpretation of Surrealism as an exotic genre capable of revealing inner fears and desires through visual expression techniques typical of this movement thereof.