Jarre Du Péteur 1971
Jarre Du Péteur
(From the suite Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel )
70 x 50 cm
Felt pen and gouache on paper
Jarre Du Péteur
by Sabeeha Mirza of The Salvador Dali Society
Salvador Dali’s Le Jarre Du Péteur from the suite Les Songes Drolatiques de Pantagruel is not for the faint of heart. Dali doesn’t just manage to cross the line, but instead leaps over it in this 1971 piece that’s title loosely translates into English as “Jar of Farts”. This felt pen illustration on a wash of gouache was his visual interpretation of the novel (translated to English as): The Horrible and Terrifying Deeds and Words of the Very Renowned Pantagruel King of the Dipsodes, Son of the Great Giant Gargantua by François Rabelais. This book of tall tales, commonly known as Pantagruel, is chronologically the second volume of a series that follows the outlandish escapades of a family of giants. In 1532, it became the first book to be published by Rabelais under his pen name Alcofribas Nasier, and served as a sequel to the popular book entitled The Great Chronicles of the Great and Enormous Giant Gargantua, which was not credited by any specific author at the time.
In this particular volume, from which Dali’s work was inspired, Rabelais relates the antics of the giant named Pantragruel, the son of the aforementioned Gargantua. The tales of Pantragruel unfold via a series of nonsensical court cases and essays, cataloging the giant’s episodes. In one such episode, Pantragruel befriends a poorly mannered rascal and together they defeat a group of invading giants. The pair then proceed to urinate on the survivors, drowning them. Rabelais’s grotesque sense of humor and wild display of imagination resonated with Dali, because it was here that Dali found the inspiration for the fearlessness he displays in Le Jarre Du Peteur.
Dali’s unorthodox masterpiece Le Jarre Du Peteur brazenly depicts a large, human-like figure’s backside, expelling fumes from its rectum into an anthropomorphic, torch-bearing jar. With one leg bent in the air, the faceless giant’s other leg kneels down on one knee beside the dismembered flexed foot that bears Dali’s signature. The obscenity of the work is amplified by exposed bones protruding from the humongous, hairy legs from which several patches of weeds sprout from. Putrescence spews from the mouth of the disgruntled jar. While the figures are illustrated in black and white, the background is a robin’s egg blue, providing direct contrast to the yellow of the foreground. This sort of illustration on one-dimensional fields of color offers a sense of animation common to storytelling comics. Le Jarre Du Peteur proves that Dali was fearless and unapologetic. Even in the most vile, obscene subject matter—Dali manages to find the sophistication in its humor. When it comes to Dali, nothing is out of bounds.
Includes original Descharnes' letter of authenticity.
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