Honors Program

Fine and Performing Arts Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Scott Contreras-Koterbay, Peter Pawlowicz

Thesis Professor Department

Art and Design

Thesis Reader(s)

Patrick Cronin


Salvador Dalí was an artist who existed not long before my generation; yet, his influence among the contemporary art world causes many people to take a closer look at the significance of the imagery in his paintings. For the most part, Dalí is categorized as a Surrealist artist, yet in this essay, I also plan to explore other possibilities of influence that surrounded Salvador Dalí’s generation and inspirational background. Around 1941, Dalí’s work began to shift away from Surrealism and, instead, moved toward a more Classical style that contained many religious themes, a style which he called “Nuclear Mysticism” (Taylor 2008, 8). My interest in this subject stemmed from a visit to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta to see the exhibition “Dalí: The Late Work.” This exhibition contained highly regarded paintings such as Christ of Saint John of the Cross (1951), The Persistence of Memory (1931), and The Madonna of Port Lligat (first version, 1949). Seeing these paintings caused me to consider the possible situations, groups, and events occurring in 20th-century Spain and elsewhere that could have caused this transformation in Dalí’s art. In most of our minds, Dalí was an artist who painted amorphous figures and objects that would only exist within his dreams and unconscious state; yet, Dalí’s subject matter after the 1940s showed a remarkable consideration of figures and objects that are symbolic to the fundamentals of the Catholic tradition.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


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