Salvador Dali

Tête Raphaëlesque éclatée [Exploding Raphaelesque Head] (1951)

About this artwork

Following the atomic explosion over Hiroshima in 1945, Dalí painted a number of fragmented heads and figures. Some of the shapes that form the head in this painting are solid and phallic shaped - inspired by rhinoceros horns. The upper area of the painting, with the halo and brown clouds resembles photographs of atomic explosions. The female face, with its tender expression and thin halo, is recognisable as the face of a Madonna by Raphael. Dalí was a great admirer of Old Master paintings. The skull section in this work is based upon the inside of the dome of the Pantheon building in Rome.

see media
  • title: Tête Raphaëlesque éclatée [Exploding Raphaelesque Head]
  • accession number: GML 345
  • artist: Salvador DaliSpanish (1904 - 1989)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art Two(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: 1951
  • measurements: 43.20 x 33.10 cm (framed: 67.60 x 57.70 x 8.70 cm)
  • credit line: Long loan in 1987
  • copyright: © Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS, 2016.

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

Dalí was born in Catalonia, Spain. After being thrown out of art school in Madrid in 1923, he experimented with a range of styles. By 1927 he began to move away from Cubism towards Surrealism. He was a keen follower of developments in surrealist art and literature and met Miró, a fellow Catalan and Surrealist, in 1927. A talented self-publicist, Dalí cultivated his eccentric personality as carefully as his meticulous, academic technique, inspired by the Old Masters. In addition to being a painter, sculptor, graphic artist and designer, Dalí collaborated in the making of the first surrealist film, 'Un chien andalou' in 1929.