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Salvador Dali. Self - Maximum Speed of Raphael's Madonna. (1954). 81 x 66 cm. 
Oil on Canvas. 


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Salvador Dali. Maximum Speed of Raphael's Madonna. (1954). 81 x 66 cm. Oil on Canvas. 

The picture is a synthesis between Small Madonna of Raphael exploded (1951) and Galatea with the Spheres (1952). Dali venerates Raphael, the small Madonna of Raphael is a homage to the large Master of the Rebirth. During its Roman period, after the death of the pope Jules II, in 1513, and the accession of Leon X, the influence and the responsibilities of Raphael increase. It is named architect as a chief of the Saint-Pierre basilica in 1514. it also designs ten tapestries illustrating the Acts of the Apostles of Christ for the vault Sixtine and Madonna of Sixtine (1514) it who is today in Gemälde gallery in Dresden. One knows the talents of painter of Raphael, less his talents for architecture which explain the aspect of small Madonna and its hollow form pointing out the vault sixtine. On the other hand even if the first 4 letters of the name Galatea form the name Gala one can wonder which is the relationship between Raphael and Galatea. Raphael realizes on behalf of the banker of Sienan origin Agostino Chigi, from which it is protected, celebrates it fresco of the Farnesine villa: Triumph of Galatea (1513). And which report exists there between Gala, Dali and Galatea ? The answer is in Roman mythology. Pygmalion, in Roman mythology, is a sculptor of Cyprus. He hates the women and decides never to marry. He works nevertheless during several months with the statue of very a beautiful woman and fall finally in love insane with his statue. Pygmalion requires then of Venus, goddess of the Love, to send an young girl to him resembling his statue. Venus answers its prayer with its manner by giving life to the statue. The young girl, that Pygmalion calls Galatea, answers his love and gives him a son, Paphos. Pygmalion it’s Dali who before knowing Gala, according to he said, was afraid of the women. If Galatea with the Spheres of Dali already consists of spheres moving it than the 3rd picture entitled Maximum Speed of the Madonna of Raphael is nevertheless much space. Moreover spheres of the second picture converge in a central point at the edge of the lips of Galatea. The spheres of this last picture turn and they are expanding. Dali takes account of the last scientific discoveries of the time. The theory of the big bang is introduced in 1948 by the American physicist of Russian origin George Gamow, which modifies the theory of Lemaître on the original atom. Gamow supposes that the Universe was born from a gigantic explosion and that the various elements observed today were generated just after this explosion called big bang. According to the principle of the general relativity of Einstein, it is the matter and the energy which determine the geometry of the space time. On a Planck scale, the curve of time could be carried out and lose consequently the linearity which we know, by erasing the law of causality at the same time. The past and the future would then become meaningless concepts : so that the Universe is born, it is necessary that it reaches dimensions higher than those of the scale of Planck. Questioned on the painting the artist after a long silence declares : “ The human Heart is immortal ”…

The horizon is low, it’s located on one the lower third of the picture. The point of view of the spectator is on the level of the geometrical center of the painting.

The composition is based on 2 great oval forms in top and bottom on one the higher and lower thirds of the image. The components of the face, eyes, noses and mouth are in the middle of the 4 natural points of interests.

Harmonize by repetition of the forms. 

4 spheres of similar size are located on 4 levels different from top to bottom. 
Only the colours of the spheres change. 

The feeling of rotation is given by the oval forms in top and bottom like by the cylindrical provision of the spheres to the center. 

Details : 

These details represent the hair of the Madonna and even a braid. 

Among the spheres in the center one distinguishes the eyes, the nose, the mouth and even the eyebrows of the model which are moving. 

Whereas on the line the landscape is not modified, it is acted in fact of a usual landscape of the paintings of Dali, on the left the cliffs seem burst and taken in the large swirl. To note in bottom the succession of Maltese cross (Greek cross to the branches in the shape of V reversed) which decorates the frontage of the lower oval and which points out the crosses inside the face of the Madonna of the painting of 1951. 

Light : The picture is enlightened of in top on the left. 

Colours: Contrasts between hot and cold colours.
Contrast between complementary.

Similar Paintings : 

Salvador Dali. Small Madonna of Raphael Exploded. (1951).

Salvador Dali. Galatea with the Spheres. (1952).

Salvador Dali. Persistence of the Memory. 1931.