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An Obscure Scene from Dali

Obscure Art fascinates me. One might think: isn’t all art obscure? No; sometimes a chair is simply a chair, or a figure useful for practicing particular artistic forms. I’m flipping through an art book containing annotations with Salvador Dali’s artwork. I’m drawn to many of his creations, but, some draw me more than others (though not because one is better than another). In The Temptation of St. Anthony (below), I immediately notice the tall legs of the elephants and the rearing horse in front of St. Anthony, leaning on a rock, holding a Crucifix on a knee with a skull on the ground in front of him. I notice all of the materials of the caravans on long seemingly stable legs. Approaching St. Anthony, the clouds darken away from the sun. Yet, I don’t want to confuse the caravan as a completely hostile form especially since the caravan travels aside though below the clouds though seemingly a part of the clouds as well (this may be an element representing the cunning of temptation in a seamless pattern within nature).

St. Anthony bares his crucifix (potentially with a Rosary attachment) nude, in the desert. I like to think the crucifix might have been a signal for the caravan containing gifts to mark St. Anthony as the one completing his trials in the desert.

"The Temptation of St. Anthony" by Salvador Dali

The two individuals on the ground in the distance do not cause a reaction to the caravan though seem to be experiencing a process with the caravan. There seems to be an angel, floating spirit, or an artistic-seemingly-floating white gesture behind the individual holding the crucifix up to the other individual potentially encroaching on him. A bit more in the distance are two individuals holding hands. Are the paths of the individuals coming from the mountains in the far distance converging with the caravan coming from the completely opposite direction a representation of a developing material and spiritual war? Is St. Anthony waging war against his child and adult like selves? Am I looking at a completion of a journey, the arrival of a climax, or a continuous process? Is the caravan an ideal of heaven coming to earth or a heaven already present on earth which is conflicting with the spirituality of St. Anthony? Is St. Anthony coming to a revelation: a wholesome human without is capable of being wholesome with the luxuries from the caravan (on earth)? What is what to St. Anthony? What if St. Anthony was the temptation himself?

Dali, Salvador. The Temptation of St. Anthony. 1946.

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