After the War

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Salvador Dalí

Tête Raphaëlesque éclatée [Exploding Raphaelesque Head]
1951
The face in this painting is influenced by a Madonna by the Renaissance artist, Raphael. Dalí has fragmented the head to show how the sense of order from the past, illustrated by the balance and reason of a classical icon, has been shattered by the advent of nuclear weapons. The motif of the shattered head was a common one amongst artists in the post-war years. This reflects the emotional turmoil of a period when nuclear war seemed like a reality, following the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In this context, the delicate halo of the Madonna now suggests a nuclear mushroom cloud and her expression, with eyes downcast in prayer, seems particularly appropriate.
  • Credits Long loan in 1987
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 43.20 x 33.10 cm (framed: 67.60 x 57.70 x 8.70 cm)
© Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2013
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  • © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2013

Nuclear Warfare

America dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, following that with another at Nagasaki three days later. Both cities were devastated and tens of thousands of civilians were killed.