Sunday, September 16, 2012

Berowne's 135

(For Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "J" is for "Joker")
Summing up Dali’.
All his life the painter Salvador Dali’ had a desire not just to do the outlandish thing, he wanted to be the outlandish thing.
“I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.”
Many regarded him as shallow, a kind of joker, but he could be serious. It was, he reasoned, by ignoring aesthetic concerns that he could approach true art.
“It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.”

His surrealism, his famous limp watches, summed up this thought. Which brings us to this week’s prompt, a painting by Dali':

“I am making things that inspire me with a profound emotion and I am trying to paint them honestly."
Picture a young man – Salvador was twenty-one at this time – absolutely dedicated to throwing off the shackles of his education and existence and conventional art training.
What fascinated him? What inspired him with a profound emotion?
In “Venus and a Sailor,” it is eros, the erotic force, that was to be his trademark throughout his life as an artist.
A sailor, after a month or so at sea, seeks a woman. To Dali’, this is that most important life force at work because the person the sailor seeks is not just a woman to nestle with; she is Woman – a girl, a mother figure, a goddess from the classical past, and yes, a prostitute.
Dali’ came at this theme from several different angles.
In this version, what a beauty is the goddess; what a nonentity – he doesn’t even have a face – the sailor. He is not all that important in this scenario.
Here's still one more angle.

This would seem to be the most representational. The sailor has had quite a fall; he has become a mere puppet. The ship is at anchor in the harbor. Young Salvador has inserted a small iconic item from that time – 1924 – a “flapper.”
It’s almost as though he is commenting on class differences. It may be just my imagination but as I understand it the sailor, a common seaman, gets nothing; the man making out with the goddess is an officer, or possibly a petty officer.
To sum up, surrealism opened up infinite possibilities for Dali’s wild imagination.

(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)

42 comments:

Other Mary said...

Oh, I wish I had read this before writing. Great information and insight here B.

joanne said...

Thanx for all the bio on Dali....check out the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. (I know - Florida??)
It's amazing, as was he...

Tess Kincaid said...

Interesting read...thanks Mr. B...I thoroughly enjoyed this...

Stafford Ray said...

Well done Berowne. Dali was the compleat artiste, with something to say and the salesmanship to have it noticed. He presented himself as an extension of his canvases.

Berowne said...

Other Mary: "Great information and insight here, B."
What a fine comment, O M; thanks.

Berowne said...

Tess K: "I thoroughly enjoyed this..."
As I thoroughly enjoy your prompts. Thanks again.

kaykuala said...

A surrealist and an eccentric. It showed very much in his being and his painting, a non conformist! Nicely Berowne!

Hank

Sharp Little Pencil said...

Berowne, I'm a big fan of Dali, as well as researching the Gertrude Stein period of her salons with Alice B. Toklas. It's easy for pedestrian people to put Dali down for being truthful, that his art was himself, and vice versa, his outrageous poses. Yet I find myself refreshed whenever I sit with a book of his works. He was a sprite, to me. Thank you for shedding light on the portrait of the sailor; some salient commentary from you there. I love to learn from you! Amy
http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/09/16/ocd-overwhelming-critical-demands/

Doctor FTSE said...

Very perceptive interpretation of the series of pictures.

Roger Owen Green said...

This is a great introduction to the spirit of the artist. Or as the old joke went, "Hello, Dali!"

Kutamun said...

Interesting yarn, Berowne, i notice the flapper stands on dry land, waiting patiently and maybe fruitlessly for Him to return. Meanwhile , it seems the goddess feet are hidden from view. Does a sailor ever fully return from the Great Sea ? , you would no better than most , thanks, your thoughts inspired mine .

Berowne said...

Roger O G: "Or as the old joke went, 'Hello, Dali!'"
Yes, reminds me, in one of his later years he got out of a cab in Manhattan and a group of women there spontaneously sang him a complete verse of "Hello, Dolly." Didn't go over as well as hoped because he didn't pronounce his name Dolly; it was pronounced da-LEE.

Berowne said...

Kutamun: "Does a sailor ever fully return from the Great Sea? You would know better than most."
Well, since my service was in wartime, I was glad to return; never wanted to go back. :-)

izzy said...

What a guy! -so interesting, the second take is great! thanks.

Helen said...

... I've visited the Dali Museum in St. Pete ... as fascinating as he was. Great post Professor.

Ann Grenier said...

Thank you Berowne. I always enjoy your perspective on the prompt subjects ...

Kathe W. said...

thanks for the education! I was somewhat intrigued by Dali-loved his melting watches- and the sailor as a puppet is spot on!
Thanks also for your nice comments.

Susie Clevenger said...

I love the information on Dali. I too wish I had read it before writing. Thanks for sharing!

Berowne said...

Thanks, Susie, for your encouraging comment.

Little Nell said...

A very interesting piece. Thank you for the other versions of his theme too.

jabblog said...

As always I learn something from your blog. The different interpretations of Venus and the Sailor are fascinating.

Berowne said...

jabblog: "As always I learn something from your blog."
And as always I get a charge from your comments - thanks so much.

Lyn said...

Seeking the goddess, that makes sense! It's interesting that Dali had a Cubist moment, but Surrealism brought the fame.

Reader Wil said...

Hi! Thanks for sharing your knowledge about Salvador Dali. I always found him an interesting guy. Especially his moustache is very impressive.
Thanks for your weekly contribution to the alphabet meme. I haven't always time to visit everybody, I am so sorry, for there are nice posts everywhere.
Wil, ABC Team.

Trellissimo said...

Lots of food for thought. :)

Karen S. said...

Oh wow, you are amazing...and it's funny this time, I never even looked up anything about this painting...I went with just the words (oh and what words can do right) and the two of them, close, but not so close....he (well we know the life of many sailors right?) What an excellent post, thanks so much!

Berowne said...

What a remarkable comment, Karen - thanks.

Jesh StG said...

My favorite is the 3rd -more complex painting. Being a joker, and being extreme in his views is of course a cover (mask)!

Dave King said...

Excellent post. Dali would have approved.

Berowne said...

Hey, we don't hear "excellent" all that often. :-) Thanks, Dave.

Chris said...

Good to know about his background and what inspired him to create the masterpieces.

Sheilagh Lee said...

lovely insight into Dali.Have you seen the film Midnight in Paris that came out in 2010? I watched it last night and they had so many different artists in it like Dali and Picasso and others.
Your piece was very informative thank you.

Lynette Killam said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, having been a Dali fan for many years! The world could use more people with his style and insight...:)

Altonian said...

Dali - the supreme Artist. He could have succeeded in anything he did, and he chose to a painter; and Boy! Aren't we glad. Well done Berowne.

Berowne said...

Thanks so much, Altonion...

RMP said...

Very interesting. I enjoyed both the art and your take on them.

themirthofdespair said...

Interesting. I haven't seen a those sailor paintings from Dali before. I liked learning about them and reading your take on them.

Belva Rae Staples said...

I enjoyed your insight on Dali's paintings! As usual, your work is excellent!

☆•.¸.Mildred.¸.•☆ said...

Great entry for J day!
Very interesting information about Dali which I loved reading!
Thanks for sharing;o)

***
Have a nice weekend****

Berowne said...

My thanks to all these blogger friends for some very welcome coments.

Tigerbrite said...

An interesting and informative piece as usual:) You might like this
http://planetcyberluz.com/2011/01/07/outrageous-genius/

mypenandme said...

Enjoyed!

 
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