By Paul Chimera
My blog posts generally run about 500 words. But I think I could get away with a single word about Dalí’s 1958 painting, “Meditative Rose”: Gorgeous!
This canvas puts to rest any notion that Dalí was solely about the bizarre, the narcissistic, the twisted, the way, way out there! Not at all. Not by a long shot. Fact is, Salvador Dalí created some of the loveliest paintings of the 20th century (I’ll talk about more in future posts).
“Meditative Rose” is one of them.
What would have motivated the 54-year-old artist to paint a picture like this? One explanation is that Salvador Dalí the man was not merely about exploring Freudian dream symbolism and the world of the subconscious. Dalí had a very human side. A caring and sensitive side. He was not afraid to tap into his “feminine” side.
Indeed, there are countless works by Dalí – not just paintings, but Dalí prints, Dalí watercolors, Dalí drawings – whose predominant message is their sheer beauty. No hidden meanings, no hidden images. Just lovely subjects, beautifully painted. One great example would be his baskets of bread, such as the one shown here from 1945.
In “Meditative Rose,” Dalí chose to put the stunning flower – a classic symbol of beauty and romantic desire – at the center of his canvas, floating like an angel above two lovers dwarfed by the massive flower, and whose love is symbolized by the rose, along with the fiery passion of its deep crimson hues.
The wide-open, expansive Spanish landscape may represent the future for this loving couple – uncharted, virgin territory that’s theirs to discover as a couple in love.
I know many college professors and others who have a reproduction of “Meditative Rose” hanging in their offices. Virtually all are women, attesting to how resonantly Dalí spoke to the fairer sex with moving and beautiful pictures like this one.
Meanwhile, we can perhaps further answer the question of what was going through Dalí’s creative mind at the time he painted this canvas by looking at what some other artists were doing at the time. In this case, it’s been suggested that Dalí could have been partly inspired by another contemporary painter – the Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte.
The specific reference would be to Magritte’s “The Castle of the Pyrenees” of 1959.
But wait! What came first — the Magritte or the Dalí?
Dalí’s work was painted in ’58 – a year before the Magritte work. Sure looks like the opposite was true: Magritte’s work may have been influenced by Dalí’s “Rose”!
What we know for sure is that Dalí’s ultra-tight technique allowed him to depict literally any imagery with photographic believability. Look, for example, at the precisely painted water droplet on the rose petal. And the texture of the landscape has a buttery quality – dreamy, if you will.
It’s the perfect setting for two lovers, alone in their thoughts – adding a kind of ethereal and slightly mysterious detail to this gorgeous Dalí painting. For those who prefer tranquility and calm to flaming giraffes and deflated pocket watches, “Meditative Rose” is hand-picked just for you.