Salvador Dali's Elephants is one of the most impressive oil paintings to have come from the career of this exceptional Spanish painter. This website offers up information on The Elephants plus several other paintings from Salvador Dali which feature this popular animal within them too. At the bottom of the page are more Dali paintings which you may also be interested in, with links alongside each to where you can buy print reproductions of them from Art.com, our recommended art retailer who we regularly use ourselves.
Salvador Dali's Les Elephants, to use it's French name, features a beautiful, gradiented sky that combines yellows and oranges to set the scene perfectly for the surrealist objects that are placed before it. Salvador Dalí, in Dawn Ades, Dalí and Surrealism wrote about his reasons for depicting elephants within several paintings and why they were distorted from reality. There is more information on this within this website. You may also be interested in Salvador Dali clocks at Salvadordaliclocks.com which features the famous melting clocks which appeared in the The Persistence of Memory and Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.
Salvador Dali Elephants were specially selected animals which Dali used to contrast the difference between weight and structure, with the elephants carrying huge weight on their backs on top of brittle legs which were vastly elongated in order to substantially distort reality and stengthen the symbolism in his painting. The objects on the back of the elephants are believed to be inspired by Gian Lorenzo Bernini's sculpture base in Rome of an elephant carrying an ancient obelisk and has been mentioned in several conversations of the artist, so it a fairly reliable claim. You can also buy Dali paintings from the Oil Painting Shop.
Elephants is different from the others included below in that the Elephants are the entire focus of the painting and this remains a great lack of content across the rest of the work, with just a barren landscape whilst most Dali paintings were covered throughout with detail and interest. Swans Reflecting Elephants is one example of this, and you can see that below. It is marginally better known within Dali's career than Les Elephants.
Swans Reflecting Elephants, also sometimes known as Reflections of Elephants, offers another use of Elephants but within a more detailed painting which was created by Salvador Dali in 1937. This work came from his Paranoiac-critical period and is now stored in a private collection. At 51 cm × 77 cm (20.08 in × 30.31 in), it is another relatively small painting with most other significant artists using far larger canvases than Dali would normally have chosen.
The extraordinary list of objects found within Swans Reflecting Elephants underlines the creativity involved with artists like Salvador Dali. The main focus of the painting is the bizarre reflection of swans in the pond on which they float which resemble elephants. It is believed that in this work Dali carefully chose a simpler title as he was becoming unhappy with the amount of weird art, as he saw it, which would become popular without any of the necessary qualities that he himself concentrated on achieving.
Temptation of St Anthony is another related Dali work which you can see above. As with all other images included in this website, the links beside it offer you the chance to buy your very own reproduction copy of the Dali original as a framed art print, which we ourselves have done recently. In Temptation of St Anthony Dali places some even more substantial objects on the backs of his surrealist elephonats and there is even room for a horse towards the front of this bizarre but symbolic procession. A small man sits in the bottom corner of the painting holding a cross up against them, seemingly for protection.
An obelisk lies on the back of the first elephant and this Bernini-inspired idea is continued into the later Dali paintings that also included elephants. Within Temptation of St Anthony, though, there are several elephants carrying on behind and these acutally hold Venetian edifices in the style of Palladio on their backs which again highlights the influence of many aspects of Italian art and culture on the thinking of Salvador Dali.
Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate was actually the first of Dali's paintings to use elephants in 1944. At that time Dali was living in America with wife Gala. The full title of the work was actually Dream Caused by the Flight of a Beearound a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening and it is now stored in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid who hold an impressive selection of paintings from his distinguished career.
It is acutally Dali's wife, Gala, who is the women portrayed in this painting. Many believe that Dali is in some way capturing a dream of his wife's within this painting but it is always somewhat unclear as to the exact ambitions of it's creator, as with all his other art works. Many unconfirmed opinions on the painting have passed over the years since it was produced, but the most frequent and likely explanation is that it bears some relation to the Theory of Evolution and also covers the theme of dreams.
Besides the Elephant-related paintings found in this website there are many more impressive oil paintings by Salvador Dali that are well worth checking out, and we include a list below of some of the most famous of all.