Soft Construction with Boiled Beans Premonition of Civil War (1936) by Salvador Dali

Soft Construction with Boiled Beans Premonition of Civil War - Salvador Dali - 1936

Artwork Information

TitleSoft Construction with Boiled Beans Premonition of Civil War
ArtistSalvador Dali
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions110 x 84 cm
Art MovementSurrealism
Current LocationPhiladelphia Museum of Art

About Soft Construction with Boiled Beans Premonition of Civil War

The artwork titled “Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War” is a significant piece by Salvador Dali, completed in 1936. Painted using oil on canvas, it measures 110 by 84 centimeters and is categorized as an allegorical painting that falls under the Surrealist movement. This piece resides in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, reflecting a critical period in history as well as the artist’s imaginative vision.

The artwork itself is a striking display of tension and grotesque deformation. It depicts a monstrous figure, dismembered, with limbs contorted, seemingly tearing itself apart amidst a tranquil, blue-skied landscape that resembles Dali’s homeland of Catalonia. The focal point of this chaotic amalgamation of body parts is a grotesque central figure with a soft torso, from which sprout rigid, almost skeletal limbs. The figures are juxtaposed against a serene backdrop, suggesting the sharp contrast between the beauty of the world and the horror of internal conflict. The large bean in the center of the painting, along with other limp beans scattered around the desolate landscape, reference the title and add an element of absurdity typical of the Surrealist approach.

Dali’s work commonly features themes of decay, transformation, and sublime beauty, often drawn from his own dreams and subconscious mind. In this painting, the disturbing imagery serves as a metaphor for the self-destruction associated with civil strife—a poignant reference to the political turmoil leading up to the Spanish Civil War. Beyond its political message, the artwork stands as an enduring testament to Dali’s extraordinary ability to fuse the real with the surreal, prompting deep contemplation and unease in the observer.

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