Art Essay DaliFINAL

Submitted By 420blazeitkaworu
Words: 1228
Pages: 5

How does you era artist reflect their world within their artworks?
Refer to one of their works in your response and the work of another artist that you have studied.

An artist’s world is a huge part of the conceptual framework in art criticism. The artwork can give a huge insight on what the artist’s lifestyle was like through painting techniques, signs and symbols which are used to show a deeper meaning as well as similarities in style with other artists and/or artworks. In Salvador Dali’s ‘The Great Masturbator’ (1929) he delicately weaves childhood traumas together with favoured psychological theories all the while conducting experimentation with a completely new artistic movement, surrealism. The same can be said for Frida Kahlo’s ‘The Broken Column’ (1944), which relies heavily on personal experiences and metaphors to convey that deeper more profound meaning that says a great deal about the artist and moreover the world they lived in and lives they experienced.
As ‘The Great Masturbator’ (1929) was painted during Dali’s first surrealistic era in 1929, he was mainly experimenting with the new movement that he connected with so deeply, Dali played with our perception of reality by testing its boundaries and exploring images and concepts he could now explore in a deeper level with aid of the morphed abstract images with hidden messages typically created by the subconscious as mentioned in Sigmund Freud’s theories. Sigmund Freud’s psycho-analytic theories were a key part in the development of a surrealist artwork, more particularly the dream analysis aspect. Freud stressed the importance of acknowledging the role dreams play for us and the importance of trying to understand them as they give insight to our deepest desires and anxieties, “The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious" a famous quote by Freud himself. For the surrealist community this was crucial as the complex combination of images typically created by the subconscious were used to give that iconic flare that made the era so iconic. Dali was a strong believer of Freud’s theories not only for his dream analysis but also for his statements on psychosexual stages. Essentially Freud said that all mental illnesses could be stemmed back to the repression or the over-indulgence of sexual tendencies, for example; oral sex – forceful feeding, which would lead to oral activities (smoking), aggression and dependency. For Dali who had an intense aversion and phobia of sexual activities after his father traumatised him he uses ‘The Great Masturbator’ to display a major aspect of his life and the world he had been opened up to once he joined the surrealist movement.
Upon a closer look ‘The Great Masturbator’ (1929) it begins to show a series of smaller pictures that make up the overall artwork. All of these smaller parts and seemingly randomly added features all develop the overall theme of Salvador Dali’s horror towards sexual activities and intercourse in general. Aided with the abstract general appearance that came with surrealist art and Freud’s analysis on sex and dreams he vividly created an artwork that expresses all of his anxieties and phobias all stemming from the traumatic event of his father purposely leaving out developed sexual infections for him to ‘accidentally’ view at such a young age, effectively scarring him for life. ‘The Great Masturbator’ was painted during the summer of 1929, when Dali had first met his future wife Gala. The picture shows the transformation of a very erotic nature after first meeting Gala. Once the artwork is broken down and studied for each individual feature key aspects tell the audience vital and key information about Dali’s mindset during this time. For one, the ginormous masturbator’s side profile is a mere personification of Dali, the figure that shown with closed eyes and flushed cheeks is a demonstration of a male in the midst of intercourse. He incorporates more messages into the