Dalí and the Rose as a Symbol

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Monday, 2018, May 14

Dalí’s use of the rose flower in his art crossed many different mediums. In the Alice in Wonderland ( conceived in 1977) bronze sculpture, the woman’s hands and hair have blossomed into roses symbolizing feminine beauty and eternal youth.

In the Dalí sculpture, Woman of Time, ( conceived in 1973)  the female figure holds a perfectly formed rose on a stem, the clock she has draped on her arm alludes to the awareness that beauty can be independent of time. Dalí often depicted the female figure with a head not of hair, but as a bouquet of roses, to symbolize possibly their latent sexuality, as in the sculpture ‘Homage to Fashion’. ( conceived in 1971)

Dalí painted a perfect rose in his 1958 painting ‘The Meditative Rose.’ The image is a visual paradox, the fundamental basis of surrealism, the rose seems to ‘float’ in the sky , meditating above two tiny figures, reminiscent of Jean Francois Millets L’Angelus’,(1856), one of Dalí ’s favorite paintings. One of the petals has a water droplet resting on it, creating a luminous three dimensional effect.

Here Dalí uses the trompe l’oeil technique to trick the viewer; in fact the rose appears to have depth in the painting, contrasting with the solid blue sky in which it sits,  leading to an incredible three dimensional effect.

Another Dalí bronze sculpture that encapsulates the female figure with the head of roses is, Femme a La Tete du Rose. (1981). Standing two meters high, this surrealistic sculpture makes apparent yet again Dalí’s continuous obsession with the symbol of crutches. La Femme à La Tête de Roses stands on two crutches, with a longer one (rising from the base) supporting her right arm.  On her left arm are positioned several fingers of two disembodied hands, which hold her firmly.  The superior part of the sculpture is a phytomorphic figure, the entire head becoming a flowery bouquet from which a horn rises, giving an animal-like dimension to the figure. Dalí always depicts figures grounded in fantasy, which, in turn, take on different meanings when assembled with external, incongruous objects.