Aesthetic Experience: Salvador Dali Museum

Categories: Salvador Dali

I am going to visit the Salvador Dali museum for my Aesthetic Experience essay. I chose this museum because it is close to my house. I previously visited the museum when I was younger and I am looking forward to exploring it again from an adult standpoint. Since I’ve been to this museum before, I have a general idea of what I will experience. The main difference is that I will be visiting the museum as an adult and I will be able to comprehend more clearly the messaged behind Dali’s artwork.

I am expecting to go in and have my mind blown by Dali’s masterpieces and all the hidden messages within his paintings. The one thing I am not looking forward is deciding which paint I should use since I am sure there will be plenty of good options for me.

Artwork Information:

  • Title of work – Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire
  • Artist’s name – Salvador Dali
  • Creation date – 1940
  • Classification – painting
  • Time period and style – Double image and optical illusion
  • Medium – Oil on canvas
  • Size and scope – 18 ½ inches by 26 inches
  • Social, Cultural or Historical origin – This painting was created thanks to Dali’s love for optical illusions and double images.

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    The works of Arcimboldo inspired him and the whole painting was produced to honor and appreciate the French philosopher and writer Voltaire.

  • Western or Eastern classification? – The painting is of western origin. He studied in Madrid and developed a love for surrealism.

The painting from Salvador Dali that I am going to evaluate is called the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire and is located in the Salvador Dali museum in St.

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Petersburg, Florida. In this piece, Dali utilizes optical illusion, double image, and surrealism. From these three techniques, the double image is the most notable one. Dali utilized this technique multiple times throughout his career and is present in a lot of his pieces. This painting presents us a slave market, with a lot of action happening at the same time. In the middle of the painting, we notice the slave market full of activity and transactions. At first glance, everything looks like a typical slave market but a closer look in the middle of the painting reveals the face of Voltaire. Voltaire was a French philosopher and writer, who was very inspirational for Salvador Dali. Her faces form Voltaire’s eyes, the shape, and shadows of their dresses form the mouth and the chin of Voltaire and conveniently, the opening behind the structure where the market is located outlines his hair.

Dali also utilizes optical illusion in this painting. The front section of the painting shows his wife Gala half-naked, observing the market. The table where she is at contains a basket full of fruits that at first glance look to be something else. The basket contains a pear that Dali utilized to blend with the mountain that is in the horizon. The other fruit in the basket looks like an apple, and it resembles the butt of one of the girls in the slave market. Dali utilized all these elements to create surrealism and the double image in this painting.

After observing this painting I came to the realization that it was very deceiving and clever. It is deceiving because we have to look twice at everything to find the hidden messages like the basket of fruits blending with the rest of the painting. I also think it is very clever due to the way Dali managed to create the face of Voltaire using the bodies and clothes of those two slaves. This painting is of western influence. Salvador Dali created this painting because he was obsessed with optical illusions and surrealism. He is known as one of the best surrealist artists of all time. This painting was a way for Dali to illustrate how proficient he was with the double image style and optical illusion.

I decided to compare Salvador Dali’s painting Pablo Picasso’s Guernica from the textbook because they were both amazing artists that inspired many. Picasso utilizes surrealism and cubism in all of his painting, while Dali utilizes surrealism across the painting along with optical illusion. Both paintings are also oil-based, contain multiple images of people, places and represent the artist’s ideas. Dali’s painting focuses on a slave market while Picasso’s main theme was war. Picasso’s painting is considered a masterpiece and I believe that Dali’s painting will become a masterpiece.

In conclusion, this visit to the museum made me appreciate Salvador Dali’s work even more. The complexity behind his paintings and all the double illusion and hidden messages blew my mind. I was surprised by the quality of the work, how sophisticated and brilliant Dali was. My favorite part of the whole visit was the guided tour. They analyzed a couple of his paintings, going into details and helping you understand the message that Dali was trying to convey. My least favorite part was the number of people that decided to visit the museum that morning. I don’t know if there was an event or something but the venue was very saturated. I enjoyed writing this essay, especially since I got to visit the museum and discover more about Dali and his work.

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Aesthetic Experience: Salvador Dali Museum. (2021, Sep 08). Retrieved from

Aesthetic Experience: Salvador Dali Museum

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