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November 28, 2006

How sweet an echo it is!

"The first effect is that of anguish...."

Not too many people know it, but Salvador Dali designed the album cover for Jackie Gleason's "Lonesome Echo" album:


On the reverse, Dali is pictured with Gleason, and provides the following description of his art:

"The album cover is by eminent contemporary artist Salvador Dali. He describes his conception in these words:

The first effect is that of anguish, of space, and of solitude.

Secondly, the fragility of the wings of a butterfly, projecting long shadows of late afternoon, reverberates in the landscape like an echo.

The feminine element, distant and isolated, forms a perfect triangle with the musical instrument and its other echo, the shell."

It's still for sale as a CD on Amazon.com (with the Dali cover, of course).

That's resonance.

November 23, 2006

Royal puzzle

I'm trying to figure out exactly what this is:


It's an inscription to a book, but who in the hell is the "Comte du Liege"? (At least, I think that what it says...)

I've looked all over the Internet, as well as in my books, but there doesn't seem to have been any Comte du Liege for a long time, and there's no particular connection between Dali and that city, so I'm stumped.

November 18, 2006

Female centaur victim of false labeling?

I just scanned my woodblock print of Salvador Dali's depiction of Dante's Inferno, Canto 12.


Commonly known to scholars and galleries as "The Minotaur," some revisionism is needed, because as anyone with a minimal knowledge of mythology can see, the image clearly shows a centaur -- and a female centaur at that. There's a male archer too who appears to have just shot an arrow, and while his involvement with the centaur is not exactly clear, she seems to be looking at him. In the background, another centaur holds a spear.

Here's the relevant text of Canto 12

And between this and the embankment's foot
Centaurs in file were running, armed with arrows,
As in the world they used the chase to follow.

Beholding us descend, each one stood still,
And from the squadron three detached themselves,
With bows and arrows in advance selected;

And from afar one cried: "Unto what torment
Come ye, who down the hillside are descending?
Tell us from there; if not, I draw the bow."

My Master said: "Our answer will we make
To Chiron, near you there; in evil hour,
That will of thine was evermore so hasty."

Then touched he me, and said: "This one is Nessus,
Who perished for the lovely Dejanira,
And for himself, himself did vengeance take.

And he in the midst, who at his breast is gazing,
Is the great Chiron, who brought up Achilles;
That other Pholus is, who was so wrathful.

Thousands and thousands go about the moat
Shooting with shafts whatever soul emerges
Out of the blood, more than his crime allots."

As to the artist's own view, he seems to have been inspired by reading the text of Dante to come up with the images, but once he did the paintings he moved on to other things, leaving the publisher to come up with names.

So collectors are stuck calling this poor girl "the Minotaur."

ADDITIONAL NOTE: The Minotaur has a man's body and a bull's head, and there is no such thing as a female bull, so unless Dali was anticipating postmodernist interpretation, I don't think the above can possibly be construed as a female Minotaur.