The Elephants

The Elephants
Artist Salvador Dalí
Year 1948
Medium Oil on canvas
Location Private collection

There is not much information available behind the history of Salvador Dalí’s The Elephants. What is known is the painting was completed in 1948 under the Spanish title Los Elafantes. This creation followed the likes of previous Dali works such as The Temptation of Saint Anthony. This painting also depicted elephants with extremely elongated and skinny legs. It is believed this particular work was inspired by the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Berninis Roman works of art. This piece is currently part of a private collection and is one of forty Surrealistic paintings by Salvador Dalí.

Interpretation of the Painting

The Elephants depicts two of the creatures walking through a barren area. Two figures on the ground appear to be heralding their arrival and a structure in the background looks as if it is smiling. However, most consequential are the elephants themselves. The ancient obelisks on their backs, with ultra-long legs, are considered a phallic symbol. The vision of the elephants with their long spindly limbs poses a sharp contrast to the weight of the beast and therefore creates a distortion in space of weightlessness and structure.