Dali Celebrates Peace & Freedom: Let’s Hope for a Great 2018
By Paul Chimera
Salvador Dali Historian
It’s safe to say the one hope for fast-approaching 2018 that everyone would surely wish for is that peace and freedom may be as ubiquitous around our world as soft watches and tall crutches were around Dali’s surrealist world.
In homage to such a glorious goal, I invite you to take a look at a few Salvador Dali works that celebrate peace and freedom through the lens of Dali’s inimitable creative vision.
One is his “Peace Medal” of 1978, whose front image is that of two curvaceous women, each shaking hands with someone not shown except for his or her hand; and a third adult in the middle (it appears to be a male) holding a child. An angel figure is seen at right. The verso of the medal – issued in both silver and gold – reveals a double-image of a human face formed by a series of doves, bracketed by two olive branches – symbols of peace, a word seen written in a multitude of languages around the circumference.
Now turn your attention to Dali’s magnificent “Peace Medal” created in the 1950s as part of the artist’s world-famous Art-In-Jewels – originally the 35-piece collection of the Owen Cheatham Foundation and now displayed in a special room of the Teatro-Museo Dali in Figueres, Spain. Dali described this stunning work this way:
“Across a world of lapis lazuli, four pair of hands, in prayer, each sculptured differently, form a Cross, and, with rays of gold and diamonds, reach out to all points of the earth – and beyond, into space. The Cross is the Hope for Peace for all the world.”
In my view, the concept and execution here make this jeweled masterpiece one of the most sensitive and beautiful of any works ever created by Salvador Dali. Equally beautiful was how he described the ultimate value of this incomparable collection of jeweled art:
“My collection of jewels…will be, ineluctably, of historic significance. To history, they will prove that objects of pure beauty, without utility but executed marvelously, were appreciated in a time when the primary emphasis appeared to be upon the utilitarian and the material.
“Freed of materialism and serving a philanthropic purpose,” Dali continued, “the Dali jewels are a new Ambassador for America – to Russia, to Europe, to all the world; a symbol of the cosmogonic unity of our century.”
I saw the Dali Jewels years ago in a special loan to the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond, and subsequently wrote a lengthy article with color reproductions that appeared in The Buffalo News. They completely upstaged the museum’s permanent Faberge eggs collection!
Finally, Lady Liberty got a Dalinian makeover when, in 1972, Dali took the iconic Statue of Liberty design of Frederic Bartholdi and gave it a lift – by showing both arms and torches raised in victory, titling the work “The Victory of Liberty.”
The original stands at the Vascoeuil Castle in rural France, while a bronze copy sits atop the tourist bureau in Cadaques, Spain –a gift to the town from Dali’s original secretary/manager, Captain John Peter Moore.