Friday, June 13, 2008

Premonition of Civil War

I was browsing through one of my favorite art books the other day, Sister Wendy’s 1,000 Masterpieces, and came across one of my long-time favorites: Dalí’s Premonition of Civil War (1936). In college when I studied literature and Spanish language, I remember reading unbelievable surrealist novels and short stories written during the same timeframe by a Nobel Prize winning Spanish author, José Camilo Cela.

The effects the Spanish Civil War on the citizens of Spain were simply devastating. It was right around the same time Hitler was mobilizing Germany for impending war against the rest of Europe. Spain underwent a coup d’état resulting in a new dictatorial government under General Francisco Franco, which was allied with WWII's axis powers. Artists and writers were exiled, upwards of 200,000 civilians were executed, children were separated from their families and evacuated to countries across Europe and even as far as the United States. All of this understandably had a profound impact on art and culture during this era (Dalí, Picasso and Cela especially, and others such as George Orwell, Ernest Hemmingway, and Robert Capa).

In Dalí’s piece, the juxtaposition of imagery of agony, destruction and terror set against a lucid blue sky conjures feelings of shock and nearly takes a person’s breath away. The notion of brute force trampling peace is so powerfully wrapped into this image, that even (or perhaps especially) today, one has to step back and think about how far we’ve come as a culture, yet how we're still chained to our seemingly undeniable need for war.

Anyway – yet another fantastic piece of inspiration found just browsing through an old book. Thanks Sister Wendy!

www.paulsearsphotography.com

Or check out more Paul Sears Photography pages on MySpace, Facebook, or Flickr

3 comments:

celestina marie said...

Great post! It is amazing what an old book can do for inspiration. Your photography is fantastic. Best of luck with ebay too.
Celestina
la rea rose

Sandra Evertson said...

Great post!
Check out
William Dunniway
www.collodion-artist.com
I think you will find his work of interest!
Sandra Evertson

Kathy said...

LOVE this post!

Your photography is just beautiful ~ my very favorites (so far) are Oro and Viaje!

The very best of luck at LAJE!!!