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Salvador Dalí

Spanish, 1904–1989

© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 2012

The Transparent Simulacrum of the Feigned Image, 1938

Oil on canvas
28 1/2 x 36 1/4 inches (72.4 x 92.1 cm)
Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966

Salvador Dalí was interested in evoking the world of dreams—the distorted sense of objects, time, and space—and played on the idea that everything that appears in our dreams is in some way related to people, places, things, and thoughts in our rational lives. The resulting “hand-painted dream photographs” are extremely precise and carefully painted. Although his paintings often evoke the anxiety we feel in dreams, they also reflect the fascinating magic and mystery of dream imagery. Dalí often used double images, in which one object can simultaneously appear to be two different things. The Transparent Simulacrum of the Feigned Image incorporates a very successful double image: a table on which rests a napkin and a bowl of food can also be seen as a landscape in which the bowl becomes a bay and its contents mountains in the distance. The title is almost a warning that perhaps nothing is as it seems: The Transparent (see-through) Simulacrum (a semblance of something) of the Feigned (not real) Image (a reproduction of something or a picture in one’s mind). The head floating on the right edge of the work is Dalí’s wife Gala; her inclusion is an homage to the inspirational and supportive role she played in his life. In fact, many of the artist’s canvases, including this one, are signed with both of their names.

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