The Burning Giraffe – Salvador Dali

2 “The Burning Giraffe” is a surrealistic painting by the artist Salvador Dali, done circa 1936. Using a variety of blues, blacks and browns, the piece depicts a bleak, sad, and cold scene. Scenery such as this was very popular amongst modernist painters. The painting, through color choice, showcases the futile, dark, and dreamy feeling epitomized by modern art. Beyond the color scheme, subjects of the painting, also, are clear representations of what modern art is. The two female figures fall in line with the rest of the painting, giving off a sense of loss, despair, and once again, a dream-like quality.
The very definition of surreal is “marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream. ” There’s no possibility that the images depicted in the painting would ever take place in reality. There’s no clear rational for what’s present in the painting. Both of the figures have unclear oblong objects sticking out of their backs. These objects are propped by what look like crutches. The first female figure seems to be missing a layer of flesh on her arms and face, revealing muscle beneath.
Farther back into the painting, the second figure is holding something looking similar to meat or muscle tissue. In the distance of the painting is a giraffe on fire. Even the stance and figure of the two females shows the dreaminess. The lines are very fluid and relaxed as in the overall scenery of the painting. There’s a very ominous feeling to it all. Surreal artists and viewed their work as an expression of the philosophical movement, inspired by psychologist Sigmund Freud, and placed much emphasize on the unconscious.

This particular painting was inspired by this thought process as Dali took much interest in it. The movement was centered on the idea that there were certain thoughts and emotions only accessible though psychotherapy. The drawers protruding from the first female figure’s chest and legs represent the opening to deeper subconscious thought and feeling. The draws show a literal representation of this. All are characteristics of a surreal piece, found in modernistic art.

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