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Art History

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The painting by Salvador Dali, Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (premonition of the civil war) is a great example of surrealism. Surrealism started in the early 1920s and is defined as the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery and effects in art. When viewing this work of art, the viewer sees an unrealistic world with a monster as the focal point tearing itself apart. Relatively around the same time period, Henri Rousseau's painting of The Dream shares some characteristics with Dali's painting. They both have some unrealistic characteristics such as an animal playing a musical instrument in the forest. In Dali's painting, a monster is tearing its own body apart, while the sky has some surreal characteristics such as being represented by two different colors, green and blue. Although both artists have unrealistic features about their paintings, Dali's painting differs from Rousseau's painting because Dali is trying to illustrate what is going on in Spain (present and future), while Rousseau is reflecting the past by painting a woman who appears to be Venus.

Both artists are different in the sense that they lived in different time periods and have different backgrounds in painting. Henry Rousseau lived from 1844 to1910 and first started painting in his spare time before becoming a full time painter. His nickname was naïve painter because he had no proper training. Pablo Picasso admired his works of art. Salvador Dali lived from 1904 to 1989. Unlike Henry Rousseau, Salvador Dali did attend drawing school at a very young age.

While looking at Dali's Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, the viewer should know the context behind the painting. This painting was made, shortly before the fascist General Franco revolted against the Spanish Republic by bombing one of the cities. The monster in the painting is being illustrated as Spain tearing itself apart. While tensions were rising in Spain, Dali must have known that it would have continued to intensify because the painting foreshadows what happened in Spain.

On the other hand, Henri Rousseau's painting shows a nude reclining in the jungle while an animal plays a musical instrument. The nude can be thought as representing the past because she is nude like classical statues and is in the same posture as the classical Venus. His painting can be viewed as being mysterious, terrifying, and having surreal qualities. His painting can be viewed as mysterious because the setting is a dark-gloomy jungle. The painting can be viewed as terrifying because the subject, the nude woman, is alone in the dark jungle with animals. Surreal qualities of the painting are the animal playing the instrument, and the nude woman in jungle by herself. She is not facing towards the viewer, which might mean she is the subject dreaming in the painting titled The Dream.

Some differences in Rousseau's The Dream



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