The Collection

Dalí i Domènech, Salvador

Rhinocerontic Figures of Illisus of Phidias

101,5 x 131 cm
Oil on canvas
Dalí Theatre-Museum

The central motif of the oil painting is one of the impressive marble sculptures that Phidias produced for the west pediment of the Parthenon of the Acropolis in Athens. Dalí began this work in summer 1953, in his studio in Portlligat. The scenery of Cadaqués appears again, with the characteristic outcrop, Es Cucurucuc, on the horizon. Regarding this canvas, Dalí wrote in Diary of a Genius: “1953 – AUGUST. The 17th. Through excessive caution, I put so little paint on the right thigh that, seeking to add some colour, I smudge my painting (…) The most re-secret secret is that I, the most famous painter in the world, don’t know how a painting is done. Nevertheless I am very close to knowing it, and all of a sudden I shall paint a picture that will be like those of antiquity. I work on Phidias’ testicles to give me courage. Oh, if only I were not afraid of painting! But, in the end, I want each brush stroke to achieve the absolute and give the perfect image of the painting’s testicles, testicles that are not mine”.

© Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014.

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  • Rhinocerontic Figures of Illisus of Phidias

    Rhinocerontic Figures of Illisus of Phidias