Posted by: PaulChimera
A blog devoted to interpreting Salvador Dali can’t get too far along without focusing on one of the coolest hallmarks of Dali’s unique talents: his perfection of the double-image. And perfection it was, possibly revealed in no better an example than his 1940
Slave Market’s double-imagery is so convincing and adroitly achieved that it has been used repeatedly in scientific texts – including the esteemed magazine, Scientific American (a favorite read for Dali) and countless science textbooks explaining optical illusion.
For anyone who doesn’t see the double-image, consider each face of the two women as an eye of Voltaire. Their collars are the high cheekbones of Voltaire, while the open space under the above archway forms his forehead. Now do you see it?
While it’s seldom mentioned, there’s actually a secondary double-image in this iconic Dali work. At right is a compote or dish, behind which several women appear. A more discriminating look, however, finds that the ample backside of the one woman is simultaneously a piece of fruit in the dish! And, to the right, a pear doubles as part of the background mountains.
This blog will refer many times to the concept of “Dalinian Continuity,” where Dali intentionally repeated certain images from one picture to another in order to thread together certain common themes. In the present case, the compote can be found in several other Dali paintings, including Nature Morte Vivante of 1957. The dish with fruit, doubling as landscape details, appears in The Transparent Simulacrum of the Feigned Image of 1938. More significantly, the bust of Voltaire itself is repeated in at least two other important Dali canvases: Resurrection of the Flesh (1945) and Hallucinogenic Toreador (1970).