Metamorphosis Of Narcissus – Salvador Dali Essay

The painting Metamorphosis of Narcissuswas created in 1937 by oil on canvas by Salvador Dali. This painting usesa lot of images to say what it means, for example, a person, a hand, water,a starving dog, a chess board, a canyon or cliff, and people. This is notto fill the paper or distract the viewer from the suggested meaning orpoint, but to support the idea that hope and despair are reflections ofone another; on opposite sides of a coin, spinning in mid-air, waitingto land and fix or destroy everything.

The first thing that one thinks upon firstseeing it, from far away, is that Dali just painted the same thing twice.

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From afar, it appears as if he simply cut the canvas down the middle andmade one side brown and the other blue, but on closer inspection, one seesthat the two sides, although very similar, are nothing alike.

On one side, there sits a limp body staringat the reflection of herself in the water that she sinks in. The settingsun glistens off the back of her head, but she just wallows in grim depressionand boredom. The canyons trap her in the barren wasteland as she sits motionless,without movement, struggle, or life. This mysterious figure looks so vacantthat it might as well be dead. Nothing is happening on this side, so one’sattention is directed to the other.

On the other side, a blue decaying handemerges from the ground with ants crawling on it, possibly making theirhomes in it or finding food on it. Atop this pedestal, rests an egg witha flower sprouting from it. This display of life emerging from the deadis a symbol of hope and beauty. To the left of the hand, a very unhealthymalnourished dog feasts on fresh meat; his salvation is handed to him andhe survives. Behind the dog is a chess board with a young man in the middleof it, proudly surveying the battlefield as though it were his kingdom.

To his left are people on a road that leads off into the horizon. All thesethings symbolize new beginnings out of old life and hope from death.

The message that Salvador Dali was tryingto get across is that hope and despair, failure and victory, and life anddeath are all equal forces, each one pulling the other in an eternal warto balance everything. It’s all a cycle, and like all cycles, it repeatsitself forever and ever, and there’s no way of having one without the other.


…es. Texture is kept to a minimumin the specific work as it is a very two dimensional art work and as iscommon of the cubism style. He has made extremely good use of space asnearly the entire canvas is used, while maintaining the balance which isnecessary to keep the composition aesthetically pleasing. Among the manysymbolic images in the work are a bull, a horse a soldier with a brokensword and a woman looking out of a window with a very concerned look onher face. The broken sword in the soldiers hand, which can be seen at thebottom center of the composition was used to symbolize the broken spiritsand the failure to resist on the part of the people. The woman is a symbolof concern for the fighting people by people who have succeeded in beingable to see the whole picture.

The largest contributing factor to “Guernica’s”overall appeal is the excellent use of symbolism which encourages it’saudience to think. If ever given the opportunity I would be most interestedin seeing the original of this work. I have gained a lot of respect fornot only the artistic integrity of this painting, but also for Pablo Picassoas an overall intuitive and creative person.


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