May is Pro Life Month, a good opportunity to introduce the works of Salvador Dali. His birthday is also in May, which offers another tie to the curriculum timing.
Although some Dali's artwork can be a bit on the disgusting side, his work, "Persistence of Memory", should be admired by all pro-life believers. Dali insists that he remembers being in his mother's womb, and the picture of the melting watches is actually a self-portrait of him as a fetus. The melting watches represent how time didn't matter, and the funny shape with eyelashes is his fetus self.
Dali used other symbols in his works as well. He grew up as a rich child, in the care of a nanny. His nanny had a drinking problem. Several of his works include the nanny, along with a crutch, which is a symbol for a bad habit. He used the symbol to represent his negative opinion of her.
An upper level drawing assignment that would explore Dali’s use of symbols and celebrate Pro Life Month is to agree upon a symbol for being Pro Life. The student will draw a picture of a church building, saint or clergy member with this symbol worked into the composition. The symbol should be used in a way to communicate how much this value means to the church, saint or priest.
The work can be done in any drawing medium, although drawing pencils will afford the most detail. Surrealism is known for details and depicting objects in a way that is beyond real, into a fantasy world where objects float in midair. Because details are important to the composition, the students should be supplied with pictures of churches, saints or clergy members that they can study and draw from.
Sunshine State Standards
VA.B.1.3.1 Knows how different subjects, themes and symbols (through context, value and aesthetics) convey intended meanings or ideas in works of art.
- The student used Dali’s style of Surrealism by making objects that are beyond real in some way.
- The student included a symbol for a value or concept in the work.
- The student used as much detail as possible, according to their age level and ability.
- The composition uses the principles of design that have been taught thus far.