This painting is in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where I saw his work for the first time. I more or less stumbled upon Dali's painting when visiting this museum together with a colleague during a business trip. I still remember that the shop in the museum sold watches that looked like they were melting. I considered buying one but decided not to, something I regretted later on.
The painting that was part of the Beauty of Art part 12, is called Raphaelesque Head Exploding. It is in the Scottish gallery of modern art, in Edinburgh Scotland.
Dali was a gifted painter already as a child and he moved to Madrid to study art at Academia de San Fernando. Like so many other artists I have written about in the Beauty of Art series, he went to Paris to develop his art even more. The genre Dali and others created is called surrealism.
Salvador became famous during his lifetime and he could dedicate his life to creating art. He was also lucky in love, finding the love of his life in Gala. She left her husband to be with Dali and they never parted. To him she was a soul mate and a muse.
Dali had tragedies in his life as well. The biggest blow was when his mother died in cancer when Dali was only 16.
"I worshipped her... I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul."
To me that is a beautiful description of a mother.
When it comes to your feelings regarding the painting, you mention "a visual description of having a hole in your head" ;) you like the colors and the way it has been painted and you mention that it resembles the building Pantheon. This is indeed the case, the skull section is based upon the inside of the dome of the Pantheon building. Salvador admired the old renaissance masters like Da Vinci and Raphael.
To me, Dali's paintings are of the kind I can watch really long, and always find something new in them. Most of his paintings I would not like to have (reproductions of) in my home, but the painting of the exploding head has a serenity to it that I could enjoy also in a home, not just in a museum,
I will conclude with a quote from Dali, one that fits him, or at least the image he wanted to convey of himself, well:
"Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali"
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