Salvador Dali: Vision of Hell

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Salvador Dali: Vision of Hell

Surrealism was the 20th century phase in art and literature of expressing subconscious in images without order or coherence, as in a dream. Surrealist art went beyond writing or painting objects as they looked at reality. Their art showed objects in distorted forms, colors, and movements, like in a dream. Dali’s surrealistic art was based on the belief that there were treasures hidden in the human mind. The word fantasy cannot accurately describe surrealism. Rather, surrealism is better described as a grander reality. In this grander reality, the conflicts faced in life could find resolution. Salvador Dali believed that the truth, by its own nature, was hidden. Due to this, much of his work was based on this belief. Salvador Dali defined surrealism in the way he lived his life, and in the art he created.

“The Vision of Hell” (1962) is a highly sophisticated painting that juxtaposes Salvador Dali’s earlier style, Surrealism, with a more classical style of religious mysticism which he developed later in life.

“The piece of art "Vision of Hell" is unusual because it "disappeared" for almost 40 years, suddenly "reappearing" in the fall of 1997 - 80 years after Mary's alleged appearance in Fatima. Various stories arose to explain its disappearance, including that the painting languished in a convent under a nun's bed. The most likely story is that the painting, which was last seen in 1962 in a travel agency that arranged bus tours to the Fatima shrine, was rescued by a member of the Blue Army who placed it in storage at the organization's headquarters in New Jersey.”

Critics believe that Dali’s greatest works were those done during his Surrealistic period. Greatly influenced by Freu...

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...being pierced by two carving forks. If one perceives the eye, then the large white nose, which too is being pierced by carving forks, appears. The hidden face is composed of an eye crying black tears, a bushy eyebrow and a large nose, all of which closely resemble Dali’s own features.

This dominant and tormented face, floating in the air, recalls the lines which Dali used to inspire the painting: “plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form …. Rose into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves...” (St. Lucia’s Description of hell).

Dali chose to sign his name prominently in the middle if the painting. Could it be that “Vision of Hell” is not only a portrayal of the vision of hell seen by the three Sheppard children but, also a portrayal of Dali himself, tormented and crying? Is a serious portrayal of death, such as this, a minor work?

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