Friday, August 5, 2011

Salvador Dali and his links to Velazquez in Infanta Margarita

Velazquez Painting the Infanta Margarita with the Lights and Shadows of his own Glory, Salvador Dali, 1958, Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Fl (Image retrieved from
Salvador Dali was a huge fan of artists who came before him, particularly Renaissance and Baroque artists and he frequently took their masterpieces and altered them in his artwork as homage to their work.  Often when visitors come into the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, FL either they are overwhelmed by the full canvases and do not recognize the images within the images, they do see the images of previous artworks but cannot place them to any specific artist, they vaguely recognize an image within a work, they do recognize the image and feel Dali has destroyed the image, or they know Dali's work and realize he has the utmost respect for the artists.  

For anyone unfamiliar with Dali, I highly recommend going to the museum and having a Docent take you around for at least the first part of a visit.  The Dali museum of all the museum's I have been to has to be heads and shoulders above the rest regarding how passionate they are about the artist; how focused they are on his work; how knowledgeable about his symbology, iconography, life, and history; and how they truly take their time to make the visit enjoyable and exciting.  

I love Velazquez so for me this is one of my favorite Dali pieces (I actually have several thanks to his love of Botticelli, Vermeer, DaVinci, ect. and his skill at symbology).  Dali painted 'Velazquez Painting the Infanta margarita with the Lights and Shadows of his own Glory'  around the time of the 300th anniversary of Velazquez's death in an American Abstract Expressionist style after Kooning in New York.  Much like Dali states that Kooning is 'the colossus straddling the Atlantic with one foot in New York and the other in Amsterdam' Dali's painting of the Infanta is straddling two worlds.  On the upper right corner of the canvas is the depiction of a room in Prado which contains paintings, sculptures, and various objects typically found in studio of a 'great master painter', the Infanta's face is portrayed utilizing the horns of a rhinoceros, the left hand of the Infanta is painted using atomic particles on a photographic film alluding to scientific discoveries and artistic discoveries.  So Dali is cleverly and deliberately paying homage to the great masters while incorporating the new age of scientific discovery and artistic style and discovery into the work.

Dali did not to my knowledge ever accidentally place anything on a canvas.  He was highly skilled at his  meaning in a meaning in a meaning in a meaning... I could sit for hours at one canvas to only go back another time to the museum only to find more.  He truly was a master in his own right.

The Infanta, Diego Velazquez, 1660, Oil on Canvas, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid (retrieved


  1. just linked this article on my Facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.
    Salvador Dali Painting

  2. Thank you for the link.