Salvador Dali

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

The Persistence of Memory (La persistencia de la memoria, 1931) by Salvador Dali is one of the most well-known artworks of the twentieth century, which has turned into a symbol of surrealism. The Three Surrealist Manifestos by Andre Breton, who is known as a principal theorist of the movement, criticizes the realistic attitudes of positivism, which he describes as a denial of intellectual and moral rise. A large part of the manifestos is occupied by considerations on the dream. The author presents the theory on painting that, in such a work, the content, feeling or emotion directing the painter is more important than purely painting values. Surrealists used the automatic method, i.e. a practice based on free, uncontrolled creation. The creation of the work was to be dependent on the spontaneous movement of the hand, and automatism to obtain the best way to express hidden thoughts and the recesses of the human psyche. Based on this method, Dalí came up with his own, which he called ‘paranoid-critical”, which consisted in submitting to hallucinations in order to create something that would be unusual, original and illogical. Paintings of the Spanish painter are characterized by a surprising combination of realistically depicted objects and places with sleepy illusions and deformations. Destroying the logical order of reality, combining elements by accident and inspiration from dreams was a base of many artworks of Dali and The Persistence of Memory can be one of the best examples to spot these motives

Image composition is a mix of realistic elements with distorted objects, placed side by side in a way lacking any logical meaning what is considered as the essence of the surrealistic trend. The picture’s colours are subdued and calm. Browns, blues, whites and black predominate here. Shadows are unnatural and unrealistic. Because of that one studying the image can feel like in a dream where rules of nature are omitted or, if familiar, the feeling after consuming hallucinogenic drugs. In the background of the painting a naturalistic seaside landscape with a cliff above the surface of the water can be seen, which, according to the author himself, was originally the dominant feature in the composition. The left side of the image from its down corner up to the surface of the ocean is occupied by a structure in the shape of a geometric solid with regular edges from which a tree trunk grows. Around this structure, looking like a piece of furniture, closed box or a coffin, there are three clocks: two of them melt down from the platform’s edge (a coffin?) and from the branch of the tree, while the third, closed, is presented in a realistic, rounded shape but almost completely covered with ants. In the centre of the painting, however, there is another soft clock covering an unspecified structure in which the observants can find features of a human face.

This face according to many scholars is an surrealistic auto portrait of the author and can be found in other artworks of Dali, taking the Great masturbator (El gran Masturbador, 1929) or The Enigma of Desire (El enigma del deseo – Mi madre, mi madre, mi madre, 1929) as examples. The eyes of the face are closed what can be read as another hint given by the author that the space is placed somewhere between reality and a dream. On top of the biggest melting clock, small fly can be spotted. It can symbolise that “time flies” and the evanescence of its nature. However, one can argue that the situated fly and the mass of ants covering almost entirely the surface of the closed clock could indicate vanishing rule of time. It suggests a picture of a decaying body, ugliness and the rotting process. At this point, coming back to the image of the face, the shape of it can be linked with a decaying sea animal on a beach. Because Salvador Dali feared ants, it can be assumed that this pocket watch also portraits the fear of future, getting old and inevitable death of every person.

The persistence of memory can symbolize impermanence of life. Time is not frozen like a clock. It goes by and dissolves. This memory lasts as long as we want, even without clocks. The artwork makes us reflect on our lives. Time goes by, and the clocks that symbolize life inexorably change their position. There is no doubt that the image of Salvador Dali showing melting clocks also leaves a lasting mark in our memory, forcing us above to think over the sense and the essence of our life.

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A Trip into the Past to Discover What Made Salvador Dali

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

All of Dali’s life he was troubled by numerous issues and complications however, he connected with these problems, and his paintings allowed him a way to express himself in ways, that when looked at carefully, many of us can relate to his childhood and his relationships had much to do with his artwork and through this, he was able to influence others as well, because the paranoiac-critical method was invented by Dali as a way for him to get out his inner emotions it was a way for artists to work through their obsessions by selecting and organizing particular objects on the canvas and the life of Salvador Dali was one of much eccentricity, but he was also one of the most influential painters of the twentieth century the story of his life is an extremely interesting one, and greatly inspired his artwork. (Salvador Dali, 2019)

Dali’s childhood and his growing up process had a lot to do with the man he would become later in life. He had a brother who was born before him, who had the same name. He died of meningitis before the Salvador Dali we know was born. This would have an obvious psychological effect on Dali. It caused him to be very ambitious as he felt he needed to prove himself to his family. His deceased brother was very special to his entire family, and Dali always felt inferior to this “image.” Being the center of attention was always important to Dali. One year, when Haley’s comet was going through the air and his entire family was watching the sky, he kicked his sister because no one was paying any attention to him. Dali’s family was compromised of an increasing number of women, and his entire life he portrayed feminine attributes. The death of his mother at age seventeen traumatized him immensely. And to add to the shock, his father then married his mother’s sister. Before this, Dali painted gorgeous landscapes and portraits, but now he begins to paint his “tormented soul.” (The Art Story, 2019)

In 1921, Dali began to attend the University Residence of Madrid. There, he met friends like Federico Garcia Lorca (a famous poet). Lorca was gay and fell in love with Dali, who was immature sexually at this point in his life and scared of gay relations, but the two remained close for many years afterwards. One year after he started at the University, he got suspended a year. He was eventually expelled two years later for his problems with authority. He claimed that he was more qualified than the teachers and administration who examined him.

Dali was still painting at this point, and became very much interested in Freud’s theory of the unconscious (ego, superego, id) and dream interpretation, where he believed dreams were ways to allow our unconscious to express itself in disguise. Dali met Freud in 1938 and Freud was not very impressed with Dali. Rejection set in, and he started to move away from Freudian theories.

One of Dali’s friends, Paul Eluard, had a wife by the name of Gala, who Dali was enamored with. They started being together in 1929 and eventually got married in 1934. She cures his sexual desires and his sexual curiosity. She is everything that he wants and he became obsessed with her. She treats her husband horribly throughout their marriage, and near the end of her life, she locks him in rooms and forces him to paint to make more money. Dali can only see her with a “written request” and she takes on many boyfriends. Her death in 1982 after years of dementia left Dali absolutely devastated. (Anon, 2019)

While Dali was being influenced by all of these outside sources, he was also busy fronting artistic movements that would lead to greatly influence others.

Cubism was a movement that Pablo Picasso started in 1908, which tried not to predict depict images in the traditional 3D environment, but by showing them on 2D surfaces with overlapping and rearranged fragments. Dali never painted that much in this movement, but it significantly influenced his later works. (, 2019)

However, he was one the greatest movers of Surrealism in the twentieth century. Surrealism was an artistic and literary movement that began in 1922 led by the French poet/theorist Andre Breton. They attempted to bypass conscious willpower and let their unconscious take over their works. They wanted to promote a more positive way of thinking than the current bourgeois. Salvador Dali joined the movement in 1929, but by the late 30’s he was banned from the movement for his expressed interest in the phenomenon of Hitler, however he still proclaimed himself as a surrealist to the rest of the world.

The Paranoiac-Critical Method was invented by Dali as a way for him to get out his inner emotions. It was a way for artists to work through their obsessions by selecting and organizing particular objects on the canvas. (, 2019)

All of Dali’s life he was troubled by numerous issues and complications. However, he connected with these problems, and his paintings allowed him a way to express himself in ways, that when looked at carefully, many of us can relate to. His childhood and his relationships had much to do with his artwork and through this, he was able to influence others as well.

Would Salvador Dali be one the most celebrated artist of all time and deeply focus his paintings into surrealism without the influence of his dead brother to whom he thought he was the reincarnation?

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The Life and Paintings of an Iconic Artist Salvador Dalí

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

By many, Salvador Dalí is considered one of the most influential and revolutionary artists of the early 20th century. Throughout his life, Dalí was influenced by many things: his childhood, his travels across Europe, the Dada philosophy, and the many artistic movements of the 1900s. Salvador Dalí experimented with many different styles that came with the changing world around him. Dalí was a revolutionary artist as well as a talented promoter.

On May 11, 1904, Dalí was born as Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech to very caring and supportive parents in Figueres, Spain. He was born nine months after his older brother was born; this brother, also named Salvador, died from gastroenteritis just before Salvador Dalí was born. Dalí’s parents always believed that Salvador was a reincarnation of his brother; Dalí thought that his brother died because he “was probably a first version of myself, but conceived too much in the absolute,” (Dalí). At a young age, Salvador Dalí expressed himself through art and his parents supported this artistic inclination. They built him an art studio in their home before he even attended art school so that he could develop his talents as an artist. When he turned twelve, Dalí was sent to a famous art school named Colegio de Hermanos Maristas and the Instituto (Bio). Dalí was able to cultivate his talents as a painter among young, creative minds.

When Dalí was 16, his mother passed away from breast cancer. This event had a profound effect on Dalí’s outlook on life. Salvador Dalí realized that this event had two tragedies: his mother died and he will be forgotten. Dalí loved his mother very much because she greatly supported him and his artistic expression. She loved his paintings as a child and would indulge in his art. When she died, Dalí feared that he would not leave a footprint in the world. He vowed to make himself known throughout his lifetime.

At the early age of 15, Dalí had his first art exhibit at the Municipal Theatre of Figueres. This was a public art display showcasing his talent with charcoal paintings. He learned many other methods when he attended Academia de San Fernando in Madrid. In this academy, Dalí took part in many movements such as Cubism, Surrealism, Metaphysics, and Realism (Bio). Dalí took this time to experiment and understand the underlying factors of each style. He copied the styles of the classics such as Rafael and Bronzino. He also dabbled in avant-garde movements such as Dada; this was an anti-establishment movement that started shortly after World War 1. Dadaists believed that the root cause of the Great War was the logic behind capitalism and imperialism. During the war, countries battled for other countries and for superiority. The Dada revolution focused on the morals and ethics that oppose war (in general). Some believed that the current state of the world was a place for mutual destruction. Instead of looking out and protecting one another, countries would turn their backs to the problems of the world and imperialize. Many artists combatted the ideology that went along with war by creating art. But the art created in this movement was different from other art. The art was not aesthetically pleasing because that was not its purpose. The purpose was to inform the public and make a statement. Dada movement arose from a time of economic and political turmoil and post-war depression.

Most often, Dalí’s paintings were associated with three themes: man’s universe, sexual sensations, and ideographic imagery. Dalí would often paint his dreams and subconscious fantasies. He was a fan of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories (Wikipedia); Dalí would often paint characters that would seem to be in a hallucination. Dalí was very creative and would paint in a way to incorporate both reality and the subconscious. Dalí was as meticulous as a classic Renaissance artist but as imaginative as dreams are.

Later in his life, Dalí married Elena Dmitrievna Diakonova (more famously known as Gala), a Russian businesswoman. Gala was the complete opposite of Dalí, but they made a perfect match. Gala counterbalanced Dalí; the creative forces of Dalí weren’t capable of taking care of the finances. Gala would take care of the financial and legal matters as well as the contracts of museums and art dealers.

Dalí’s paintings were just as wild and eccentric as he was. Dalí’s most famous work is The Persistence of Memory, which was released in 1931. This is also referred to as Soft Watches. This painting was made for Marie-Laure de Noailles and Viscount and Viscountess Charles. They saw that Dalí was an important figure in the Surrealist movement. Surrealism is an art movement that combined dreams with reality. Paintings and sculptures were often a mixture of fantasy-like characteristics and real-life events. Dalí mainly painted in a Surrealist manner. His works often involved landscapes with objects that were in unrealistic positions. This piece was held in Julien Levy Gallery in New York in from 1932 to 1934. This gallery was a well known venue for Surrealists and was very popular at the time. In 1934, New York’s Museum of Modern Art was given the painting by an anonymous donor. It is made with oils on canvas and it is measured at 24 cm by 33 cm. The main image of the painting is a series of melting clocks. At the time, Dalí was trying to show the difference between soft and sharp features of a picture. This painting has very warm tones. There are many interpretations of this painting because of the many perspectives.

Overall, Dali was very unique and different from other artists. He is a renowned Surrealist and is well known for the details in his paintings. Salvador Dali is an iconic artist of the 20th century. He was influenced by Dada and Surrealism as well as his frequent trips across Europe and America.

Works Cited

  • Dada. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.
  • Salvador Dalí. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.
  • The Persistence of Memory. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.
  • Surrealism. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.
  • Salvador Dalí. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.
  • Swans Reflecting Elephants. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 08 Jan. 2016.
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Analysis of Salvador Dali’s Painting Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Salvador Dali’s painting Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man (1943) is a dynamic piece that utilizes multiple elements and principles of art to convey its meaning. Dali’s piece portrays a sense of otherworldly intrigue, if not disgust, as a man hatches from an egg that likens the appearance of a globe. In the lower right a woman and child watch on as the man emerges, the child latching onto her legs. An infant’s mobile hangs above the egg as it hatches, continuing to imply symbolism of the globe being a womb or cradle. A crimson drop of blood escapes from the hatching egg, dripping onto a pure white cloth beneath the globe. Dali captures many things in this image. His utilization of oil paint allows him to achieve delicate chiaroscuro that conveys a sense of texture and mass in the bodies of the three figures and in the rippling of cloth beneath the egg. This technique also allows for the illusion of depth when looking at the man’s left hand sinking into the soft shell of the egg he is being birthed from. Implied line is also used in this piece, as the man’s arm creates a line down toward the child, and the woman’s pointing arm directs the viewer’s eyes to the man’s protruding foot and the desolate background behind the egg. The color palette is also, predominantly, monochromatic aside from the placental blood on the white cloth, as the only other colors utilized are varying values of yellow and black. Together these elements create what appears to be a rather bleak painting. However, when one considers the content and context of the work, it may come across as more bittersweet or hopeful.

Having been painted in 1943, Geopoliticus was influenced by the events of the Second World War The monochromatic, dreary color palette used in the piece demonstrates the feelings of dread felt by people in Europe and around the world during the time. The barren, desolate background reinforces this idea of destruction and hopelessness, as the only structure seen in the piece is a single tower that appears to have been affected by an outside source (this may be seen as representative of bombings that were experienced in cities throughout Western Europe). The people in the painting, specifically the woman and small child, seem malnourished and struggling, not unlike the citizens of Europe at the time. However, despite this, there is a “new man” emerging from the world. This is symbolic because it conveys a sense of hope despite all the devastation presented in the rest of the painting. Dali seems to be saying that humanity will arise renewed from the hard times the world has been going through during the past few years, and the fact that the geopolitical child (the younger generation) is watching this reemergence is important. It implies that the younger generation needs to have hope and faith in humanity, as they will see the world emerge renewed from the depths of destruction and war, and as such need to learn from the experience.

Collectively, all the elements represented in Geopoliticus create a profound and moving image reflective of the political and social environment amid the chaos of World War II. The piece provides a small glimmer of hope in the coming years and sends a message to the coming generation that things will get better as humanity moves past the horrid events occurring at the time.

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The Meaning Behind the Illustrations of Salvador Dali

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Salvador Dali was known for his surrealist artworks. The term surrealism first appeared in the writings of French poet Guillame Apollinaire who used it in 1917. It is known that surrealism is irrational, and hallucinatory. It positioned itself not from escape from life but as a revolutionary force within it. It was meant to free the human mind from the task of imitating nature. Artists like Dali were interested in what their dreams could review about their sub-conscious “hand-painted dream photographs”. With the actual painting size of 24 x 33 cm, we can see the he wants to give us this powerful impact with this little artwork in order to see the different forms of reality. He wants us to think about his work and not just react or compliment it. He wants us to use our curious minds. The melted clocks, stopwatch with ants, presented flesh, cliffs, the bodies of water and the dead tree will make us wonder, what is this painting really all about? What is the meaning behind these illustrations?

First, as for the appearance of the painting itself, it looks mysterious because it is not the usual ideas that we always see in paintings but it helps us open our eyes and find the hidden mystery of it. The artwork is a desert-like landscape adjacent to cliffs and the large body of water. It has a body of water, dead tree, cliff, sky, melting clocks, solid pocket watch, ants and a fleshy being. It consists colors such as bright blue, yellow brown, rusty orange, gray, nude and black in which it gave us a warm feeling about it. As for the objects in that painting, the first thing that caught my attention was the melted clocks. Time is one of the most important things to value in our lives. As the saying goes, “time is gold”, most of us humans value our time wisely in order to live our life to the fullest and to avoid regrets. However, the artwork seems to oppose. Almost all of the clocks that we have these days are stiff, you can barely see a clock that is easy to bend out. Nevertheless, for this one, the clocks were melted and it can symbolize that in our dreams, clocks does not rule our lives but instead it is just our memory and it is only in our reality where time rules us. Furthermore, as we see the ants eating away the face of the red clock, it can symbolize as rotting of keeping time. We should not just let the ants surround our time and just consume it without us noticing it.

Second, the dead tree may also depict that the environment of the artwork is really warm and dry. This also correlates with the body of water that is illustrated as no waves, movement nor activity. It can be seen that there is really a reason for the clocks to melt and that is perhaps the heat and temperature within that artwork. Next, on the right of the painting, we can see cliffs surrounded by water and a few end with the horizon and its sky. Since I do not really have an idea what the cliff symbolizes, I searched through the Internet about it and they said that the cliff that was featured in the painting describes the cliffs of Cap de Creus peninsula which is the birthplace of Dali. With that being said, in my own opinion, maybe the place where he was born had a significant place in his heart where he felt things like dryness or not having a persistent image about the happenings that he experienced when he was there.

Lastly, there is a fleshy being with a melted clock, pictures like eyelids, nose and hair of a person. For me, it really looks like a melted person in which his/her body parts had already mixed with his/her melted flesh. Since it is a surrealist painting, this may symbolize that this person that Dali had included must have felt the dryness of the environment and he/she did not also valued his/her time as the time itself melted within his/her body. Along with this, the setting of the painting as it is said earlier, it is desert-like which means it is really dry and warm. Even though it is desert-like, the light source is unclear. Presumingly the light will come from the sun, yet following the shadows, the light seems to be on the upper left from outside the frame. As for the shadow, we can see that it is as if the light was blocked by an unknown object. Moreover, for the composition, we can see strong horizontal lines in the horizon and the shore. To further understand, you can use a ruler to make things clearly. The picture plane was most strongly divided by a diagonal line. Following the fleshy creature, the diagonal line connects the lower part of the image, the platform stretching several objects, and the cliffs. The diagonal line seems to be the borderline of the light and shadow. Also, the use of dark and light adds to the plasticity and sense of space.

In life, there are different points of views in life that we should consider every time. In every situations, there are a lot of point of view that we should respect. We are all humans and we are free to voice out our feelings and our own opinions. Additionally, regarding with the painting, possibly, the reason why we all have different interpretations of the symbolisms within this painting is that Dali had a great job of letting us widen our point of views with the paintings that we see. It is not just what we think they are, an artwork is so much more than what we think and it is within the artist with how they would interpret it within the public and how would they show their feelings and emotions through their unique ways of expressing it. Dali had required us to think and dig deeper.

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Review on the Film “Un Perro Andaluz” by Luis Buñuel

October 21, 2021 by Essay Writer

Un Perro Andaluz is a silent, surrealist short film co-written by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali and directed by Buñuel. According to Linda Williams, surrealism was inspired by the “subsequent exploration of the relation between the unconscious thought and poetic production” (Williams 12). She explains that surrealists aim to separate the object from its function and present it as its own entity or being. Sequences of events are not controlled by reason but rather the creative flow of the artist. Surrealist films distort time and space to mimic the forms they hold in dreams in hopes to create an “other-worldly” experience (Williams 13).

In Un Perro Andaluz, Buñuel aims to fully embody surrealist ideas as he questions rationality, provokes viewers, and explores sexuality, death, and love. First and foremost, the logicality of time and space are non-existent. Actions are not linear and the sequence of events are in an illogical order. The audience is constantly tossed back and forth in time with the aid of mere subtexts such as “eight years later” or “in the spring” to help their minds understand what is happening. Likewise, space is not limited to reason or consistency. This denaturalization of reality is meant to create a sense of uneasiness and unfamiliarity in the viewer. Buñuel deliberately deformalizes these concrete scientific concepts in attempt to separate the viewer from the physical world. For example, when the two main characters are fighting in their apartment and the woman runs away from the man into the other room, the man appears in the room she ran into, lying in a bed in her clothing. When the camera pans out, we see that she is in the same room in which she appeared to have run out of in the last scene. This warping of space displaces the viewer from reality so much so that one almost feels like they have entered a dreamlike trance.

As a surrealist, Buñuel throws reason out the door and allows his ideas to flow freely. A character may start an action in one location and time and end it in another. For example, when the main character shoots his brother, the brother is shot in an apartment but transports to a forest as he falls from his wounds. It is hard to say for certain where events occur as locations are constantly changing mid-scene. In a very surrealist fashion, Buñuel’s goal is to create a film that invokes creative freedom in his viewers and helps break down the subconscious constricting walls of reality. The film is an illogical sequence of scenes loosely connected through consistent actors. Buñuel merely sews together absurd and sometimes disturbing images. For example, in one scene, the male antagonist wipes off his mouth and replaces it with the woman’s armpit hair. With no true plotline, viewers are forced to rely on their own subconscious to piece together the story. The mind is given the liberty to interpret what is happening on screen in its own way, thus leaving room for various interpretations and explanations. No two people will view Un Perro Andaluz the same way. Furthermore, as a true surrealist, Buñuel intends to “shake” the viewer with stark, intense close-up images, almost making the viewer feel as if it is them on the screen. One memorable example can be seen in an opening scene of the film when a woman’s eye is sliced open. Viewers are meant to shudder in their seats as they watch this scene, envisioning the eye as their own. As we will explore in the next paragraph, these scenes of pain are always directly tied to sexual arousal in this film. Buñuel has an obsession with death and sexual desire.

Throughout the film, images of pain and sexual sensations are paralleled. For example, the scene when the woman’s eye is sliced open is juxtaposed with the phallic shaped cloud passing through the circle-shaped full moon, an image that represents intercourse. Another common metaphor he uses is that of ants in a hand, symbolizing masturbation as in “pins and needles,” when one’s hand gets numb. The ants are denaturalized and no longer are viewed as ants but as a metaphor for sexual pleasure. When the male antagonist sees or feels pain, he gets sexually aroused. For example, when the woman slams the man’s hand into the door, ants appear from his hand – again, symbolizing masturbation. To represent this phenomenon in the film, painful and sexual images are always paralleled. For example, when the woman with a severed hand in her box is standing on the road and almost gets run over by passing cars, the man becomes sexually aroused. And when the woman is actually run over, he begins to grope his partners breasts. He turns manic, stalking his partner around the room as she refuses to comply. When he touches her breasts, he becomes corpse-like and appears dead. When the woman fights backs, he begins to pull two grand pianos with a dead donkey on each one. Here we see several connections between sexual desire and death. Another example is the scene of the brother’s death where as he falls to death, he grabs onto a naked woman.

In real life, Buñuel was fixed on the idea that his brother was evil. Maybe his relationship with his actual brother inspired this scene. Perhaps all of these scenes are a reflection of Buñuel’s own life, in particular of his obsession with death and sexuality. However, in the ending of the film we do see the surrealist ideal of passionate love. The female protagonist finally finds happiness. When she is walking along the beach with her partner and he checks the time, she pushes down his watch as if saying we are not operating on this time but instead in the time of love. Furthermore, the box is a metaphor for repression. When she reaches the beach, she is finally free. The transition from the confined apartment to the open, airy beach symbolizes her newfound freedom. As they walk along the beach, she kicks the box that once held the severed hand, a metaphor for leaving her past behind.

In conclusion, watching Un Perro Andaluz is a dream-like experience that consists of explicit sexual scenes, an irrational chains of events, and disturbing imagery. Buñuel aims to follow surrealist values and ideals while also reflecting himself and his passions in the film.

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