In Voluptas Mors, 1951, photograph by Philippe Halsman, in collaboration with Salvador Dali
The most stunning thing about this work is the point of view of the skull, which feels overwhelmingly masculine despite its feminine composition. He's just an insinuation, yet he completely dominates the image. He is at once evil and laughing.
He is not the sum of his parts. He is the sum of his parts.
The women's feet are delicate and vulnerable as feet and chaotic as teeth. Their flesh appears soft, but when viewed as bone, it's harsh.
Dali was Spanish, Halsman was Latvian. What of the women? What was it like in the studio that day? Imagine how many takes it took to get the women positioned just right.
Then there's Dali sitting on the left. I'm so preoccupied with the skull and the women, that my brain can barely process Dali, yet there he is and will have to be gotten through like all the rest of it.
When something blows up your mind, it's art. This is art.
Imperative companion notes
I am a complete freak for jigsaw puzzles and have one 2,000-piece Dali puzzle, Femme a Tete de Roses.
Growing up, one of my good friends was Latvian. I was frequently invited to family events, wherein tables would overflow with traditional Latvian food. My favorite was pîrâgi, or bacon buns. We pronounced it pea-dog. Now that I've found a recipe, I think I'll bake up a batch. My friend's mom and aunt always used Spam in lieu of bacon or pork. I like the Spam substitution. It fits my Cleveland sensibility.
* * *