Artist Salvador Dali was a unique voice in the world of art and he is arguably one of the pioneers in what we today call “performance art.”
His artistic flair for creating dramatic imagery spilled over into his public life too. Dali was known for flamboyant public appearances, including this photo of him walking an anteater and high-profile appearances on television (see his game show apperance in What’s My Line?).
The man knew how to live large outside of the art museum. The world was his stage and canvas.
Small in size, big in stature
Dali’s work explored the absurd and nonsensical world of surrealism and dream imagery, and a number of his paintings have reoccurring themes and symbols. Abstract objects (shapes, places, people or animals) are typically set upon wide-open landscapes as a backdrop.
The worlds in his paintings are large and vast. Scenes like The Persistence of Memory register in our minds as massive dreamscapes, and in-person we expect a physical size of equal weight and mass.
In reality The Persistence of Memory is smaller than the dimensions of a modern iPad.
The first time I saw Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) I was surprised at how tiny it was, especially when compared to the paintings of a contemporary like Pablo Picasso, whose single canvases can fill an entire wall.
I had never taken the time to take note of its true dimensions – a mere 24 cm × 33 cm (9.5 in × 13 in).
Living large on the horn
Steering this observation towards music education and playing the horn, an argument could certainly be made that it is not the physical size of a person that determines their inner spirit, their potential or the size of their heart.
Sometimes good things come in small packages, packages that are deep and full of mystery.
This Photoschlopping of Dali’s famous painting captures this thought as applied to the French horn (with tongue held firmly in cheek of course). Click on the image below for a larger view.
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