Dose of Art #77: Salvador Dali – Spain (1938)

When Dali painted this picture, Spain was in Civil War between the Republicans and the Nationalists. The latter won when the last parts of Catalonia were captured in 1939. Dali himself wasn’t in Spain at the time.

We see a beautiful double image of a woman, forming both background and foreground. The fighting soldiers make up her face and the two heads of men on horses the nipples of her breast. Going down she becomes more real; we see her arm leaning on the cupboard, her leg casting a shadow and her feet firmly planted on the ground.

The fact that Dali was a surrealist makes the painting hard to interpret. It is tempting to see the woman as Spain (the Motherland) looking sad because of the war. The presence of the soldiers certainly supports this reading. But what about the cupboard, the open drawer and the red piece of cloth?