The First Days of Spring

The First Days of Spring
Artist Salvador Dalí
Year 1929
Medium Oil and collage on panel
Location Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
Dimensions 19.49 in × 25.20 in
49.5 cm × 64 cm
Famous Paintings by Salvador Dalí
The Persistence of Memory, 1931
The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, 1952-1954
The Face of War, 1940
The Ecumenical Council, 1960
Landscape Near Figueras, 1910
Christ of Saint John of the Cross, 1951
Lobster Telephone, 1936
Swans Reflecting Elephants, 1937
Apparatus and Hand, 1927
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, 1959
Morphological Echo, 1934-36
The First Days of Spring, 1929

The first thing that might strike a viewer when encountering The First Days of Spring by Salvador Dalí is the lovely, welcoming expanse of blue sky on the top of the canvas. Then, the eye travels down to the colorful weirdness that takes place on a flat, concrete gray landscape that is bisected not quite in half by an utterly straight, black highway.

Who Are These People?

A work that is part oil painting and part collage, The First Days of Spring shows two figures in the left foreground. One is a man leaning against a strange, human-sized doll. They sit in front of a painting that is painted in the way to make a strip of gray land look three dimensional. On top of it is a brightly colored abstract figure. In the middle distance, a man sits in a chair, looking outward.

On the highway itself is a brightly colored creature that seems an amalgam of a parrot fish, blue coral and some creatures that might exist only in the mind of the famously eccentric artist. A bit down the highway is a picture. In the distance stands another lonesome figure.

Weird But Playful

Even more activity is happening on the right side of the highway. Interestingly, many of these figures have shadows, as if the sun is shining in from the right, even though the creatures on the left side of the highway are shadowless. There appears to be a man riding another man, a box on a plinth with a front that seems filled with confetti, a little girl offering something to an old man, and a mermaid-type being with something like a thought bubble filled with colorful objects above her head.

The painting invites the viewer to step into this weird, playful world without fear. After all, it is spring, the sun is shining, and the sky is blue.

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