The Monday Poem: Salvador Dalí by David Gascoyne

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This week’s poem is David Gascoyne’s Salvador Dali. I hope it inspires you!


Salvador Dalí

by David Gascoyne

The face of the precipice is black with lovers;
The sun above them is a bag of nails; the spring’s
First rivers hide among their hair.
Goliath plunges his hand into the poisoned well
And bows his head and feels my feet walk through his brain.
The children chasing butterflies turn round and see him there
With his hand in the well and my body growing from his head,
And are afraid. They drop their nets and walk into the wall like smoke.

The smooth plain with its mirrors listens to the cliff
Like a basilisk eating flowers.
And the children, lost in the shadows of the catacombs,
Call to the mirrors for help:
‘Strong-bow of salt, cutlass of memory,
Write on my map the name of every river.’

A flock of banners fight their way through the telescoped forest
And fly away like birds towards the sound of roasting meat.
Sand falls into the boiling rivers through the telescopes’ mouths
And forms clear drops of acid with petals of whirling flame.
Heraldic animals wade through the asphyxia of planets,
Butterflies burst from their skins and grow long tongues like plants,
The plants play games with a suit of mail like a cloud.

Mirrors write Goliath’s name upon my forehead,
While the children are killed in the smoke of the catacombs
And lovers float down from the cliffs like rain.



1936

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The Wednesday Painting – Metamorphosis of Narcissus

This week’s Wednesday painting is Salvador Dali’s Metamorphosis of Narcissus. I hope you enjoy it!

Date: 1937

Metamorphosis of Narcissus 1937 by Salvador Dal? 1904-1989

Metamorphosis of Narcissus

Painting by Salvador Dali, 1937
Metamorphosis of Narcissus is an oil-on-canvas painting by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. – Wikipedia

5 Days of Photography. 5: Philippe Halsman (1906-1979)

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It’s the final day of 5 Days of Photography and I’m finishing as I began; with an oldie. Day 5 is Latvian-American artist Philippe Halsman, responsible for that photo of Einstein and producing work for Vogue and Life magazines. Dabbling in photography from the age of fifteen, Halsman went on to become one of the world’s most recognised photographers, working with subjects such as Marilyn Monroe and Richard Nixon.

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“I realised that deep underneath people wanted to jump and considered jumping fun” – Philippe Halsman

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He exhibited his work several times at the avant-garde Pléiade gallery alongside other photographers including Man Ray, André Kertész, Brassaï and Laure Albin Guillot. When Germany invaded France in 1940, Halsman’s prosperous career came to an end and he fled to New York with his family. There he would work for numerous American magazines including Life, the first magazine illustrated solely with photos… In all he shot 101 covers for Life magazine.
But Philippe Halsman was far from being just a celebrity photographer. In fact he experimented his whole life long, pushing back the boundaries of his chosen medium. For more than 30 years he worked in close collaboration with Salvador Dalí and invented ‘jumpology’, which consisted in taking photos of famous people jumping as a way of obtaining more natural and spontaneous pictures of his subjects.
Philippe Halsman stands out by the wide range of his activities: portraits, fashion, reportage, advertising, personal projects, as well as private and institutional commissions. Halsman’s photography is characterised by a direct approach, a high level of technical mastery and attention to detail. 
L’oeil de la Photographie

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Born to a Jewish family of Morduch (Maks) Halsman, a dentist, and Ita Grintuch, a grammar school principal, in Riga, Halsman studied electrical engineering in Dresden. In September 1928, 22-year-old Halsman was falsely accused of his father’s murder while they were on a hiking trip in the Austrian Tyrol, an area rife with antisemitism. After a trial based on circumstantial evidence he was sentenced to four years of prison… He was pardoned and released in 1930.[1] Halsman consequently left Austria for France. He began contributing to fashion magazines such as Vogue and soon gained a reputation as one of the best portrait photographers in France, renowned for images that were sharp rather than in soft focus as was often used, and closely cropped. When France was invaded by Germany, Halsman fled to Marseille. He eventually managed to obtain a U.S. visa[citation needed], aided by family friend Albert Einstein (whom he later famously photographed in 1947). Halsman had his first success in America when the cosmetics firm Elizabeth Arden used his image of model Constance Ford against the American flag in an advertising campaign for “Victory Red” lipstick. A year later, in 1942, he found work with Life magazine, photographing hat designs; a portrait of a model in a Lilly Daché hat was the first of his many covers for Life… In 1951 Halsman was commissioned by NBC to photograph various popular comedians of the time including Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Groucho Marx, and Bob Hope. While photographing the comedians doing their acts, he captured many of the comedians in mid-air, which went on to inspire many later jump pictures of celebrities including the Ford family, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Marilyn Monroe, María Félix and Richard Nixon… His 1961 book Halsman on the Creation of Photographic Ideas, discussed ways for photographers to produce unusual pieces of work by following six rules:

“the rule of the direct approach,”
“the rule of the unusual technique,”
“the rule of the added unusual feature,”
“the rule of the missing feature,”
“the rule of compounded features,”
“the rule of the literal or ideographic method.”

In his first rule, Halsman explains that being straightforward and plain creates a strong photograph. To make an ordinary and uninteresting subject interesting and unusual, his second rule lists a variety of photographic techniques, including unusual lighting, unusual angle, unusual composition, etc. The rule of the added unusual feature is an effort by the photographer to capture the audiences attention by drawing their eye to something unexpected by introducing an unusual feature or prop into the photograph. For example, the photograph of a little boy holding a hand grenade by Diane Arbus contains what Halsman would call an added unusual feature. – Wikipedia


Please note that Examining the Odd does not condone the throwing of cats, no matter how wonderful an artist you are.

Salvador Dali Crazy Kiss Eau de Toilette for Women – It Exists

I spend a lot of time looking at and for strange things, but sometimes I am surprised. You can buy Salvador Dali perfume. Sadly, there is no description of its smell, but I’m hoping for a swan-elephant juxtaposition. Elegant and strong. I’d love to know if anyone has actually tried the stuff.

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Super-famous creator of dreamlike and unique images Salvador Dalí would have celebrated his 112th birthday today, in his own fantasy world. Let’s celebrate by having a brief look at the man and his work.

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I must admit that my interest in Dali has waned as I’ve got older and I tend to roll my eyes when, 99% of the time, he’s the first Surrealist anyone can think of. But his work is wonderful and is always worth looking at.

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The Spanish artist was known to blur the lines between illusion and reality both on the canvas and in his public life, establishing him as an unforgettable figure of the Modern art movement. Biography.com

Here are some facts about the moustachioed man…

According to his autobiography, his childhood was characterized by fits of anger against his parents and schoolmates and resultant acts of cruelty. He was a precocious child, producing highly sophisticated drawings at an early age. He studied painting in Madrid, responding to various influences, especially the metaphysical school of painting founded by Giorgio de Chirico, and at the same time dabbling in cubism.Your Dictionary

Dali

By now considered in artistic circles to be more of a commercial painter, in 1955 Dalí was commissioned to paint a portrait of Laurence Olivier for a film poster for Richard III, in which Olivier played the title role, by the film’s director, Sir Alexander Korda. However, the desired poster never emerged. Despite sketching Olivier in the Shepperton Studios, Dalí refused to paint it in England, which he called “the most unpleasant place”, and returned to Spain to complete the portrait. It got held up in Barcelona Airport after being deemed too valuable to transport. Although Korda was naturally angered by this, Olivier got lucky and received it as a gift.The Telegraph

The surrealists saw in Dali the promise of a breakthrough of the surrealist dilemma in 1930. Many of the surrealists had broken away from the movement, feeling that direct political action had to come before any mental revolutions. Dali put forth his “Paranoic-Critical method” as an alternative to having to politically conquer the world. He felt that his own vision could be imposed on and color the world to his liking so that it became unnecessary to change it objectively. Specifically, the Paranoic-Critical method meant that Dali had trained himself to possess the hallucinatory power to look at one object and “see” another. On the nonvisual level, it meant that Dali could take a myth which had a generally accepted interpretation and impose upon it his own personal and bizarre interpretation. Encyclopedia.com

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I also found this excellent Dali-inspired ring on Etsy. The artist will customise it to your own eye, or that of a loved one.

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