As with all great works of Surrealism, the effect is distinctly dream-like. Two piazzas in the Renaissance city of Florence are now home to the monumental sculptures of Salvador Dalí.
This public art display runs alongside the Dalí Universe exhibition currently on view at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. These creations by The Master Of Surrealism are on public view until 25 March 2013. The Space Elephant sculpture in bronze is nearly 8 metres high and was conceived by the artist in 1980. This monumental artwork is situated in the Piazza della Stazione just infront of the Santa Maria Novella train station, main entry-point for the city of Florence. The Surrealist Piano bronze sculpture is just under 5 metres in height and located in the Piazza della Accademia on the corner of Via Riscali and Via degli Alfani. These two monumental sculptures represent some of the iconic, Dalínian symbols of the Master of Surrealism.
The image of the Space Elephant was born in 1946 when Dalí painted the seminal Temptation of Saint Anthony in which an elephant carries an obelisk across the Egyptian desert. This image represented the progress of technology in the modern world. In the Saint Anthony painting there are four elephants walking on long, thin, insect-like legs. The elephants form a procession and each one carries objects that symbolize:
art, beauty, power, and knowledge.
In the Space Elephant sculpture Dalí retains the feature of slender, insect-like legs. Dalí creates a contrast or ‘Surrealist juxtaposition’ between the constituent elements of this sculpture. The delicateness of the legs against the heavy weight of the elephant’s body and obelisk. This fabulous Surrealist creature moves through space towards the sky, a creation of Dalí’s surrealist imagination that symbolizes the flights of the
imagination into the universe.
Surrealist Piano, is a 4.5 metre high bronze sculpture of a grand piano crowned by a golden ballerina. This particular work, never before displayed in the U.K., is also quintessentially Surrealist. Dalí’s subversion of the “real” is represented in this sculpture by the legs of the piano, which have been replaced with female legs. Dalí transforms and animates an ordinary object into the extraordinary. The piano (one of Dalí’s favourite images) is brought to life through its own musicality, itself seemingly dancing to accompany the ethereal figure for which it plays.
Two works of public art that serve as the perfect invitation to visit the Salvador Dalí exhibition at Palazzo Medici Riccardi. “The Dalí Universe, Florence” is open until 25th May 2013. The Dalí Universe exhibition concept has been taken to many of the world’s greatest cities, such as New York, London, Shanghai, Venice and Paris. On entering the Dalí Universe the art loving public can expect to be awestruck and inspired by what is on view. A collection that is comprehensive in its scope is displayed in such a way as to highlight the creative output of one of the most instantly recognizable and renowned artists of the twentieth century. Dalí was a painter, sculptor, designer, illustrator, creator of objects, prose-writer dramatist, a movies man with Bunuel and Hitchcock. These are different faces of the same character: Dalí Universe highlights the manifold and remarkable art production of Salvador Dalí. The sculptural works on exhibit are complemented by nearly 100 other wonderful Dalí creations -illustrations, furniture, gold ornaments and colored glasses.
Dalí was also a Master Book-illustrator lending his otherworldly style and imagination to such works of literature as: Decameron, Paradise Lost and The Marquis de Sade. As with any great man of culture, Dalí was always deeply interested in literature and the world of the ‘peintre-graveurs’, an artist who used printing techniques to project his creative vision to the widest public possible.