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Salvador Dalis Critical Paranoia Essay Example

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Salvador Dalis Critical Paranoia

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Salvador Dalis Critical Paranoia. Paid particular attention to what Freud said about the distinctions and characteristics of the id, defined as the primitive and instinctual portion of our identity that remains free of societal constraints, and the ego, defined as the conscious portion of our minds and source of more considered, rational behavior. Freud considered “dreams, myths, odd patterns of behavior, slips of the tongue, accidents and art” (Bardjeste, 2006) to be the avenues through which the desires of the id become known, thus explaining the importance of these elements to the expressions of Surrealist art. Dali employs nearly all of these elements in this painting into a fascinating composition that has inspired conscious consideration since its first presentation.

The dream state is evident in the comparative placement of the various elements within the composition while the concept of myth is emphasized within the title of the piece. Although this art form is audibly silent, Freud’s slips of the tongue and coincidental-seeming accidents can be found in the doubled form of Narcissus as well as the duplicated head shape in the rock behind him. However, when presented as intended by the artist, this painting is not as silent as many as it is accompanied by a poem on the same subject. “When this painting was first exhibited it was accompanied by a long poem by Dalí. Together, the words and image suggest a range of emotions triggered by the theme of metamorphosis, including anxiety, disgust and desire” (Tate Museum, 2005). While the poem helps illustrate the artist’s concept, an analysis of the image itself elicits the same emotional response.The initial impression upon walking up to this image, then, emerges at once of representing a cyclic pattern of life and decay, hope and depression, static immobility and explosive growth, balance and imbalance, light and dark. As the title of the piece indicates, the subject of the painting is the Greek myth regarding Narcissus, a beautiful youth who caught his reflection in a still pool and fell instantly in love with it. Not able to consummate a relationship with this shadowy image, Narcissus could do nothing other than to sit at the pool and pine away, slowly becoming a part of the scenery rather than a living, growing, thinking being. “The image of Narcissus mirrors man’s idle hopes and disappointments … [he] stands for mankind’s idle pursuit of the unreal” (Grant, 1995: 335). Dali represents this. Salvador Dalis Critical Paranoia.

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Works Cited

Ades, Dawn & Taylor, Michael. Dali. Philadelphia: Advanta, (September 12, 2004 – January 16, 2005).

Bardjeste, Amin. Introduction to Surrealism. (2006). December 6, 2009 <http://aminbardjeste.com/SURREALISM.html>

Descharnes, Robert & Neret, Gilles. Salvador Dali: 1904-1989. Germany: Benedikt Taschen, 1994.

Grant, Michael. Myths of the Greeks and Romans. New York: Penguin Group, 1995.

Hardin, Mark. “Dada and Surrealism.” The Archive. (2006). December 6, 2009 <http://www.artchive.com/artchive/surrealism.html>

Nik. “About Surrealism.” Surrealism [online]. (2006). December 6, 2009 <http://www.surrealism.co.uk/>

Ocvirk, Otto G; Stinson, Robert E; Wigg, Philip R; Bone, Robert O; & Cayton, David L. Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice. (9th Ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill, 2002.

Tate Museum. “Metamorphosis of Narcissus.” (December 2005). December 6, 2009 <http://www.tate.org.uk/servlet/ViewWork?cgroupid=999999961&workid=2987&searchid=7405>

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