© Salvador Dalí / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.

Salvador Dalí: Elephants

The mighty elephant, widely regarded as a symbol of strength and power, makes an appearance in many of the works of Salvador Dalí. In the Surrealist master’s prints, sculptures, and paintings, elephants have long, spindly, multi-jointed legs that appear structurally incapable of supporting the animal’s body. Although realistically-proportioned elephants are depicted in Dalí’s Swans Reflecting Elephants (1937), his iconic long-legged fantastical beasts were first seen in the artist’s painting Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (1944). They would later appear in paintings The Temptation of St. Anthony (1946), and Elephants (1948), often towering over strange, barren landscapes. As with many of the recurring images in his work, such as his famous melting clocks, Dalí has transformed the noble elephant into a dream-like creature that seems fragile and ephemeral.

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