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Dali's "Metamorphosis of Narcissus" Reconsidered

Milly Heyd
Artibus et Historiae
Vol. 5, No. 10 (1984), pp. 121-131
Published by: IRSA s.c.
DOI: 10.2307/1483197
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1483197
Page Count: 11
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Dali's "Metamorphosis of Narcissus" Reconsidered
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Abstract

The article deals with Dali's "Metamorphosis of Narcissus" in a new light tracing its novelty by comparing it to both previous pictures and literary sources. Both Dali's picture and poem were influenced by alchemical sources. Various sources for the egg are found in Maierus' "Atalanta Fugiens", 1618, as well as for other elements such as the hermaphrodite. The article also relates the themes to Dali's autobiography: both to his brother's death and his own cure through Gala. The opening of the head from which the flower sprouts is shown to be a continuation of therapy. A seventeenth century tradition of cure (Bosch's "Cure of Folly") seems to have been in the background to Dali's version. It is both in the picture and in the poem that the alchemical and the autobiographical meet.

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