Sunday Dalí: The Invention of the Monsters, 1937. Oil on canvas, 51.4 x 78.1 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago.
When the art institute purchased this painting Dalí sent these words along with it:
I am pleased and honored by your acquisition. According to Nostradamus the apparition of monsters presages the outbreak of war. This canvas was painted in the Semmering mountains near Vienna a few months before the Anschluss and has a prophetic character. Horse women equal maternal river monsters. Flaming giraffe equals cosmic masculine apocalyptic monster. Cat angel equals divine heterosexual monster. The hourglass equals the metaphysical monster. Gala and Dalí equal the sentimental monster. The little blue dog is not a true monster.
You can get a much larger version to see all of Dalí’s details here.
There’s a lot to unpack in this prophetic work. Suffice to say that Dalí believed that the upcoming war in Europe was not only inevitable, but that it would change the course of European society forever.
Michael R. Taylor, Dalí, (Venice: Rizzoli, 2004), 274. ↩