Salvador Dali’s soft construction with boiled beans Analysis

Salvador Dali was a surrealist painter of the modern era who was of Spanish descent. Dali, considered and known to be “the father of Surrealism”, is famous for the way in which he had managed to use his paints and brushes in order to create and interplay between myths, legends, psychology, politics, literature, and romance in his very introspective vision (Pierre and Rothenberg: 1995). What’s more, Salvador Dali and his art are synonymous with what should be recognized as “painfully erotic”  imagery. One says that the eroticism is “painful” due to how most of Dali’s influences had come from his own life experiences about a great number of things, and not all of them had been pleasant ones.

For instance, Dali had a mortal fear of falling (Pierre&Rothenberg:1995). In “ Soft Construction with Boiled Beans”, Dali, paints one of those artistic symbolisms which are deemed as unique to Salvador  Dali, which would be, none other than: a pair of crutches. These crutches appear in many of Dali’s famed obra(s) and they are clearly representative of the artist’s morbid phobia of heights, the idea of broken limbs, and the loss of life from such an avoidable misfortune (Flam, Karpal, and Motherwell: 1951).

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Salvador Dali’s “crutches”, are also symbolic of the scandalous, albeit sensationalized, romance between the painter and his “Muse” : Gala Dali . Those who have studied the painter’s life and works extensively have come to the general conclusion that Dali might have also, in a way, loathed his apparent fragility and consequently resented having to be scrutinized by the public when, as has been documented, Dali was very easily accused of impotence: a very apparent lack of virility.

Why such a history? Gala Dali was sublime in her beauty and had many admirers; some of them would later graduate from a level of simply admiring her beauty to actually possessing her. Some admirers of Gala, would later on, become her lovers which was something that so angered Salvador Dali; at some point, he had called his own beloved, “a glorified whore. (Flam, Karpal, and Motherwell: 1951).”  Dali’s jealousy is very stark in many of his portrayals of Gala through his art. Largely, the suffering lover, who had been Dali, would paint Gala as the embodiment of kitsch. Dali also used the beauty of Gala to paint her as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Finally, which came at the latter parts of the painter’s life, Dali had painted Gala in abstract detail, and in so doing, rendering her persona as something beyond, even the most complex brush detail, color palette selection, and composite imaging —art techniques proper to someone as immortally unforgettable, as Salvador Dali (Benjamin:1966). As if, in the end, Dali seemed to have been saying, “ Look. Here is my Gala. Gala Dali. And her beauty has no bounds. She can be this crooked line here, and still, be as beautiful as she is. She could be this monster, there in the corner, which I have made from a simple circle with a line across it. It is in abstract, but to me it is a monster. It is my Gala. My beautiful Gala; who can be line, shape, and space; who can be gone and yet remain, ethereal.”

Salvador Dali simply paints the ululations, yearnings, and absolute passion of a jealous and enraged lover in his “ Soft Construction with Boiled Beans”. There is a hand squeezing a woman’s elongated breast, a vision so very ghastly for those not inclined to appreciate Surrealistic Art. Scholars of art history indicate that the main image, (for “ Soft Construction with Boiled Beans is composed of a series of many other images juxtaposed upon one another, as Dali  was wont to do in his lifetime as an exceptional painter—his paintings are admirable for their seemingly collage-like qualities, and yet, they are not, simply, only, collages. They, [yes, yes, yes], are more than what they seem.); this main image in the painting is the passive-aggressive reaction of Salvador Dali towards the infidelity of Gala (Flam, Karpal, and Motherwell: 1951).

He uses the painting as a venue by which he can sodomize her, mangle her, disembody, disembowel, decapitate, and punish her by making her that ghastly and horrendous “thing” ,in the middle of the painting who smiles lewdly and lustily at the knowledge that there are after all, those primary heralds of female sexual pleasure, lying around. Strategically situated, actually, if one were to speak of Dali’s artistic design. But why are these phallic symbols scattered about in the painting, rather, melting? The answer is in the painting’s given name of, “Soft Construction with Boiled Beans”. Salvador Dali was rendering all those other lovers of Gala Dali as being absolutely deficient [and not him as being thus] for they can not sustain what should be perpetually erectile, for a woman such as Gala. In “Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, the discipline of semantics connives with the discipline of visual art, in the play of a word: soft.

Dali, himself appears in the painting. He is the inconsolable lover, so destitute, tortured, and humiliated by his weakness. The lover is weak because he cannot tell Gala to stop her infidelity; yet, the lover is also weak because he continues to be the ardent lover that he is even if he is already being deemed as a cuckold, deemed as impotent. So in this, the artist and the lover who is the artist, is indeed soft. He is forgiving. Dali could paint Gala Dali as this monster and condemn her to this painting of his, as a beast  and yet, it is not the phallus that is impotent. It is Dali’s heart: impotent and unripe, for the person and his heart, cannot hate. It can only, love.

And what of the beans? Again, Dali uses themes from his childhood, such as the fairy tale of  “Jack and the Beanstalk” (Benjamin:1966).  Gala Dali, is this giant figure of female sexuality but because of her infidelity, Dali resorts to “cooking” the fabled magical beans. There is no magic, Dali expresses. There is no romance when one’s beloved is unfaithful.  However, Dali remains hopeful, for he sees himself to be the Jack; he can overcome this ogre and regain  the wealth in that magical paradise of what had once been, his and Gala’s remarkable shared affection for each other.

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