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Face of the Great Masturbator

  • Salvador Dalí. ‘Visage du Grand Masturbateur’. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid © De las reproducciones autorizadas, VEGAP, 2011

    Salvador Dalí. ‘Visage du Grand Masturbateur’. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Madrid © De las reproducciones autorizadas, VEGAP, 2011

     
  

Category

Painting

Date

20th century (1929)

Cultural background

Avant-garde

Original title

Visage du Grand Masturbateur

This painting is the supreme symbol of Dalí's sexual obsessions and was mentioned even by the artist himself in his literary work 'The secret life of Salvador Dalí'.

This painting features the whole range of Dalinian fantasies, and particularly the motif of the grasshopper sucking at the body of the colossal metamorphosed figure, as this insect had been an object of terror for the painter since childhood.

According to the specialist critic Rafael Santos Torroella, this is an autobiographical work: the large head of the masturbator is the personification of the artist himself, who is shown simultaneously in various different scenes as a result of the emotional and erotic transformation he underwent when Gala appeared in his life. Dalí painted the work at the end of the summer of 1929, after spending various days with Gala, who had decided to stay with him in Cadaqués, even though her husband, the poet Paul Éluard, had returned to Paris without her.
 

Details of the work

Object
Painting

Dimensions
110 x 150 cm

Technique
Oil on canvas

  

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