The Hallucinogenic Toreador
Oil on canvas
Image: 157 in x 118 in
Gift of A. Reynolds & Eleanor Morse
Worldwide rights ©Salvador Dalí. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí (Artists Rights Society), 2017 / In the USA ©Salvador Dalí Museum, Inc. St. Petersburg, FL 2017.
Dalí conceived this painting while in an art supply store in 1968. In the body of Venus, on a box of Venus pencils, he saw the face of the toreador. This double image painting repeats the image of the "Venus de Milo" several times in such a way that the shadows form the features. Start with the green skirt, and make it into a man's necktie. The white skirt becomes his shirt. Travel up the figure. Her abdomen becomes his chin, her waist is his mouth, and her left breast is the nose. The pink arch forms the top of the head with the arena at the top as his hat. The tear in the eye (at the nape of Venus' neck) is shed for the bull. The red skirt on the right Venus is his red cape.
The toreador appears again in the figure outlined in yellow with arms raised in dedication of the bull to Gala. She appears in the upper left hand corner surrounded by yellow. Dalí painted Gala with a frown because she disliked bullfights.
The image of the dying bull emerges from the rocky terrain of Cape Creus that appears just below the cape. A large fly makes up the eye. What might at first appear to be a pool of blood (beneath the dying bull) is really a translucent bay. On this bay a woman floats on a yellow raft. This seeming incongruity symbolizes the "modern tourist invasions of Cape Creus which even the flies of St. Narciso have been unable to halt!" Dalí once remarked that he was not too worried about the profanation of his beloved Cape Creus because its rocks would "eventually vanquish the French tourist, and time would destroy the litter they leave everywhere."
1970, New York, Knoedler Gallery