Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Visual & Performing Arts; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Ferrell

Abstract

Salvador Dalí is regarded by many as one of the most important figures within the Surrealist movement, having created a prolific body of work throughout the twentieth century. His work varied greatly, and he expressed himself through a wide array of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, and film. Dalí is perhaps best recognized for his distinct combination of an illusionistic painting style and dream-like imagery that often features recurring iconography, symbols, and themes. Through his paintings, Dalí crafts an alternate reality that completely engulfs the viewer in the dreamlike landscape of his unconscious mind. Many scholars have drawn connections between Dalí’s involvement with film and his painting style. This essay builds on that research to claim that Dalí’s contribution to the 1929 film Un Chien Andalou played a key role in the development of his mature painting style. It argues that he would not have developed his powerful brand of Surrealist painting had he not been exposed to cinema. Dalí’s utilization of the tenets of Surrealism—including the incorporation of Freudian teachings, automatism, and dream studies—were of the utmost importance for the creation of Un Chien Andalou. As a result, the film laid the groundwork for what would soon develop into Dalí’s definitive style: dreamlike, illusionistic, and symbolic.

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From Screen to Canvas: Un Chien Andalou’s Influence on Dalí’s Surrealist Painting

Salvador Dalí is regarded by many as one of the most important figures within the Surrealist movement, having created a prolific body of work throughout the twentieth century. His work varied greatly, and he expressed himself through a wide array of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, and film. Dalí is perhaps best recognized for his distinct combination of an illusionistic painting style and dream-like imagery that often features recurring iconography, symbols, and themes. Through his paintings, Dalí crafts an alternate reality that completely engulfs the viewer in the dreamlike landscape of his unconscious mind. Many scholars have drawn connections between Dalí’s involvement with film and his painting style. This essay builds on that research to claim that Dalí’s contribution to the 1929 film Un Chien Andalou played a key role in the development of his mature painting style. It argues that he would not have developed his powerful brand of Surrealist painting had he not been exposed to cinema. Dalí’s utilization of the tenets of Surrealism—including the incorporation of Freudian teachings, automatism, and dream studies—were of the utmost importance for the creation of Un Chien Andalou. As a result, the film laid the groundwork for what would soon develop into Dalí’s definitive style: dreamlike, illusionistic, and symbolic.

 
 

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