The launching of the two atomic bombs in southern Japan in 1945 put an end to World War II and shocked humanity. Also to Salvador Dali that led him to abandon surrealism-a move that gave him international recognition, but that was the reason why his family turned his back on him-and to start a journey that ended up embracing classical culture and Catholicism. The artist went from atheism to "I am Catholic, Apostolic and Roman" that he liked to announce.
Curious by nature, Dalí felt passion for nuclear energy and for physics, after discovering that, in reality, an atom was an emptiness; a nucleus and electrons that revolved around him; but that, in the middle, there was nothing. "The explosion shook me seismically. Since then, the atom was my favorite subject. Many of the landscapes painted in that period express the fear I experienced with the news of that explosion, "Dalí wrote in 1973. And that ended up reflected in works like Leda atomic, painted between 1947 and 1949. Beyond the Greek myth -the maiden is seduced by Zeus under the appearance of a beautiful swan-, the painter represented the atomic physics in which none of the elements touch each other, but are in suspension . Leda, who gives life to an idealized naked Gala, does not get to sit on the pedestal, or touch the floor with her feet or caress the swan with her hands in a kind of choreography. Even the sea levitates over the earth. The CaixaForum of Seville exhibits this small work in the sample Dalí atomic, organized by the La Caixa Foundation and the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, in which the painting is accompanied by drawings, photographs, books and documents to explain where, how and why the piece, considered by Dalí as his first masterpiece.
Dalí, as Leonardo did with his Gioconda, walked this work for several years. He began to paint it, during his American period, in his refuge near Monterrey (California), a coastal place that reminded him of his coveted Cap de Creus and Cadaqués. He exhibited it, unfinished, in 1947 at the Bignou gallery in New York and then traveled in 1948, when the painter and his muse returned, triumphantly, to Spain. By then, he had already included it in his book 50 magic secrets to paint. A work in which "tries to help young painters to be as good as he", explained yesterday in Seville Carme Ruiz, curator of the exhibition and member of the Center for Studies of the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation.
After his return to Spain, Dalí presents himself as the "savior" of modern and public painting Mystic manifesto (1951), in which he makes it clear that he has abandoned surrealism and advances what will be his favorite themes: scientific advances and religious themes, protagonists of works such as The Madonna of Port Lligat, in which the figures of the Virgin and Jesus appear with arms and legs separated from the body.
Through some 40 pieces, Ruiz shows how Dalí spared no time or effort to achieve his goals by developing a meticulous work from the quick and energetic notes to his precious studies in details such as the pedestals and their classic scrolls. It can also be seen that photography is at the base of this work. In a snapshot we see the dissected swan that personified Zeus and, in another, Gala posing as Leda.
According to the police station, "Leda atomic It is a hinged work; It represents the end of a process of change begun in the 1940s through which, without abandoning the themes that stimulate it, it wants to emulate the classics. He abandons the paranoiac-critical method and directs his gaze towards the Renaissance. " The work occupies since 1974 a privileged place in the Teatre Museo de Figueres, together with two other paintings, as the artist ordered: The basket of bread Y Gala from the back For Montse Aguer, director of the Dalí museums, "he would be delighted with the exhibition in Seville, because this is the birthplace of his beloved Velázquez, of Murillo and of the Emperor Trajan, whose column, according to the painter, Picasso had made" . To not miss his home, in the Seville exhibition the work is exhibited in a room that reproduces, based on red velvet curtains, his usual habitat of Figueres. There he will be until February 3. Then he will travel to Caixaforum de Zaragoza.
The exhibition in Seville also illustrates how Dalí made use of the knowledge of the Romanian mathematician Matila Ghyka, with whom he shared evenings and corresponded to inscribe the composition within the so-called golden ratio; in which all the elements appear balanced and harmonic, when inscribed inside a five-pointed star and a pentagon and making the navel of Gala the center of the composition. For Carmen Ruiz, curator of the show, the red book that appears is not the Bible, as they say, but "a nod to Ghyka for her help". Something that led him to ask the mathematician in one of his letters: "I have a spiritual role in the sponsorship of his Leda".