Posted by: PaulChimera
Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity (1954) has the rare ability to elicit reactions of both the erotic and charming kind! I’ve always loved this little work, which not long ago sold, as I recall, for around a million dollars or more at auction, departing from its long-time home in – where else? – the Playboy mansion in California.
Dali’s obsession with the logarithmic spiral and how it’s found naturally in the curve of a rhino horn takes on overtly erotic and downright naughty gestures here, as the woman leaning out from a window sill is sodomized by elements of her own physical constitution. And at least one of those converging horns forming her buttocks is outrageously, uninhibitedly – and intentionally – phallic. Three smaller horns float around her, while the railing’s dematerialization conveys Dali’s nuclear-mystical sensibilities at the time, where matter was discovered to be discontinuous at the sub-atomic particle level.
Two sources of inspiration can be cited in this work. One is a nylons advertisement Dali had seen in a newspaper, and on which he based the look and positioning of the woman, including the seamed stockings. We can also find a comparison with his Figure at the Window of 1925, which shows his sister-model, Ana Maria, in a similar pose, looking out at the nearby sea. At least one writer has floated the possibility that the latter work was a sardonic poke at Dali’s sister, since she’d written a book about her famous brother that Dali considered less than flattering. Was that Dali’s intent here? The similarities between the two paintings are unmistakable. Dear reader – you decide.
The woman’s curly locks recall pictures such as Dali’s Girl with Curls of 1926, featuring a woman with a curvaceous and sexy body, though fully clothed. Like the earlier work, Young Virgin has both an erotic and charming tone to it, although some would disagree with that observation. But for me, there’s something about the naked lady’s relaxed, casual attitude – one foot flirtatiously tipped out of her shoe, the hint of that traditional seamed stocking – that lends a certain charm or innocence to an otherwise erotic canvas. Perhaps it’s as if she’s unaware, as she leans dreamily at the window, that phallic rhino horns are about to invade her personal and private world. Oh, the shame of it all.
Like Dali’s iconic Persistence of Memory – on which Gala commented that no one could forget it once they see it – no one can be neutral or blasé about Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity. Indeed, its very title makes one sit up and take notice. It just might be Salvador Dali’s most erotic painting. Hugh Heffner had good taste. Except in letting such a dandy painting go!