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Exhibits + Collection

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Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson)

Artwork Details

Title

Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson)

Maker

Salvador Dalí

Date Made

1963

Place Made

Spain

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

Image: 120 in x 161 1/2 in

Accession ID Number

1992.1

Credit Line

Purchased by the Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc.

Location

ON VIEW

Copyright

Worldwide rights ©Salvador Dalí. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí (Artists Rights Society), 2017 / In the USA ©Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc. St. Petersburg, FL 2017.

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Description

In this painting Dalí focused on the religious subject of the Resurrection in order to present both his interest in modern science and his awareness of the events of the time. Dalí boasted of the work’s title and importance, “It is the longest title in one word. But the theme is even longer: long as the genetical persistence of human memory.” The work’s title refers to the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA by Crick and Watson in 1953. The DNA molecule, with its spiral shape is the basic form of life. Dalí often spoke of the connection between spirals and life in the early 1950’s, before the structure of DNA had even been discovered! The impetus for this work was a tragic flash flood in west Barcelona in September 1962. This flood of the Rio Llobregat killed 450 people, making it one of the worst natural disasters in modern Spanish history. The flooded landscape is depicted in the center of the canvas.

Dalí used the Resurrection theme to offer solace to the Catalan victims by suggesting rebirth. The contrasting forms on the left and right sides of the painting reinforce the cyclical theme of birth/death/rebirth. On the right, the cubic structure resembling a mineral molecule is composed of Arabs, each holding a gun pointed at his neighbor. It is a molecule of self-annihilation. In contrast, on the left side of the canvas is a DNA molecule structure. This form contains the genetic code of life and has a double helix spiral shape.
Thus, the “life” spiral contrasts with the “death” cube. God’s resurrection of His Son in the center of the painting is the key to hope which Dalí offered to the Catalan victims.

Exhibition History:
1963, New York, M. Knoedler @ Co., Inc., “Dalí : Hommage à Crick et Watson”
1965, New York, Gallery of Modern Art, “Salvador Dalí, 1910-1965”
1989, Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, “Salvador Dalí Retrospective”
1990, Montréal, Montréal Museum of Fine Art, “Salvador Dali”
1990, St. Petersburg, Salvador Dali Museum
1997, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art, "Treasures from the Salvador Dalí Museum"

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