Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937) by Salvador Dali

Metamorphosis of Narcissus - Salvador Dali - 1937

Artwork Information

TitleMetamorphosis of Narcissus
ArtistSalvador Dali
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions50.8 x 78.3 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationTate Modern, London, UK
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About Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Salvador Dali’s oil-on-canvas painting, “Metamorphosis of Narcissus,” depicts the Greek myth of Narcissus falling in love with his own reflection in a pool. The painting uses a variety of symbols and colors to portray themes from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, including the human drama of love, death, and narcissism. It is broken down into four scenes of metamorphosis, each displaying different stages in Narcissus’ story.

The first scene shows Narcissus himself gazing into the water at his own reflection without realizing it’s him. The second scene illustrates the moment when he realizes that he is seeing himself and falls in love with his image. The third scene brilliantly captures him reaching out for his reflection as if trying to grasp it but cannot; instead, he ends up clutching onto watery echoes.

Finally, the fourth circle presents us with a hand rising out of water holding an egg symbolizing new life springing from death. Accompanying this fascinating painting is Dalí’s poem that portrays Narcissus’ myth through vivid imagery.

“Metamorphosis of Narcissus” is an iconic example of surrealism artwork achieved by Salvador Dali’s masterful use of paint manipulations like melting watches and merging objects. Indeedly one can appreciate how Dalí was able to create an imaginative representation reflecting complex human emotions that stand apart from interpretations given by other great artists who have tackled this topic throughout history.

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