The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus

The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus
Artist Salvador Dalí
Year 1959
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida
Dimensions 161.4 in × 111.8 in
410 cm × 284 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 Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus was painted in 1959 by Salvador Dalí. Dali was one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century, who believed in Surrealism. He was a Spanish painter who was born in a middle-class family in 1904. Most of his work consisted of elements from Impressionists and Post-impressionists. His artwork included innovation, drama and unconventional features that was shocking as well as fantastic.

Inspiration for the Painting

The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus was one of the greatest masterworks of Dali. The original painting is 14 feet tall and 9 feet wide and comprises of all sorts of symbolism from Spanish history to the Christian religion. Dali derived inspiration for the theme and colors of his painting from The Surrender of Breda by Spanish painter, Velazquez. Apart from Gala (Dali’s wife, who was always his chief muse) and Velazquez, Dali was also inspired by Columbus. It was believed that Columbus was Catalonian, not Italian and Dali also belongs to Catalonia in Figueres, Spain.

About the Painting

The painting depicts Christopher Columbus and the members of his crew on a beach on West Indies. The artist portrays the history of discovery of America. Columbus is a young boy, who is painted in a white, flowing robe. He is also surrounded by divine beings in the picture. Dali’s wife, Gala was his muse in the painting. Gala is painted in the style of Murillo’s Madonna figures and appears on the banner that Columbus is holding. Everything behind the ship is surrounded by clouds. To the right of Columbus is a kneeling figure of monk, who is represented by Dali. The most mysterious element of the painting is a holy sea urchin painted in the foreground.

The painting, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus is a tribute to Dali’s Spanish Catholic heritage.

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