Portrait of Paul Eluard (1929) by Salvador Dali

Portrait of Paul Eluard - Salvador Dali - 1929

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Paul Eluard
ArtistSalvador Dali
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions33 x 25 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationDalí Theatre and Museum, Figueres, Spain

About Portrait of Paul Eluard

The artwork, “Portrait of Paul Eluard”, is a surrealist painting by Salvador Dali created in 1929. The medium is oil on canvas and it measures 33 x 25 cm. As a portrait, it features the visage of Eluard, a noted French poet, and a central figure in the surrealist movement. The piece is currently housed in the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Spain, which is a repository for many works by the artist.

In this portrait, the representation of Paul Eluard is both conventional and radical. The subject’s face appears centrally, but it is intersected by multiple surrealist elements that fuse reality with the dreamlike and the fantastic. The face is rendered with a certain realism, meticulously detailed to reflect Dali’s extraordinary technical skill. However, the usual boundaries of portraiture are transcended by the intrusion of abnormal features and landscapes that seem to emerge from the subject’s head.

Elements such as a lion’s head, a multi-layered spiraling form, and a series of smaller, bizarre objects seem to sprout from Eluard’s forehead, extending into the space around him and melting into the background. A hand, softly draped over the subject’s head, could signify a gesture of revelation or concealment, a duality often found in Dali’s work. The background depicts a vast, desolate plain leading to a distant horizon, a typical feature of Dali’s landscapes, which contributes to an atmosphere of isolation and enigma.

The artwork is a profound illustration of the surrealist intent to unlock the subconscious and to challenge perceptions of reality, demonstrating Salvador Dali’s unique ability to blend meticulous technique with imaginative chaos.

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