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Cardinal, Cardinal!

On view

Cardinal, Cardinal!

Artist: Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904 - 1989)

Date: 1934
Medium: Tempera and oil on panel
Overall: 6 1/4 x 8 3/4in. (15.9 x 22.2cm)
Framed: 13 1/2 × 15 3/4 × 2in. (34.3 × 40 × 5.1cm)
Signed: Lower right: 'Gala Salvador Dali'
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 54.156
Label Text
Cardinal, Cardinal! is a confounding painting whose meaning is not easily understood. The image is dominated by the presence of Dalí's wife and muse, Gala, who appears at right like an apparition, having evidently been painted from a recent photograph. A gloomy group of anonymous fishermen is arranged in a pyramid-like configuration in the center of the composition. These ghostly characters, whose bowed heads conceal their faces, gather around a bedside table in the shade of a ruin, which can be identified as the old barracks at Port Lligat, Spain. Like Gala, the bodies of the Port Lligat fishermen are transparent, at times allowing the dark wall behind them to penetrate their torsos. But whereas her flimsy appearance simulates the effect of a faded photograph or a double exposure, the streakily painted male protagonists look back to the work of Jacopo Tintoretto and other sixteenth-century Venetian painters, who often created similarly dematerialized figures whose forms are picked out of the darkness by carefully delineated highlights. This arrangement of hand-painted color photography and "painterly" painting, combines to produce one of Dalí's most intriguing and compelling works that continues his interest in questioning and undermining conventional notions of reality.

Michael R. Taylor

Presumed copyright: the artist or the artist's representative/heir(s) / Licensing by ARS, New York, NY.