Dali executed the watercolor 'Les Brouettes' (The Wheelbarrows) in 1951, the same year as the publication of his tract, the Manifeste Mystique, which signaled the official beginning of his 'Nuclear Mysticism.'
In 'The Wheelbarrows' Dali brings together the dome and part of the interior of the Pantheon; a large superimposed figure, portrayed from the chest upward; and many wheelbarrows in various states of segmentation. The wheelbarrows in the bottom half of the picture give definition to the upper arms and chest of the large figure. These wheelbarrows in their state of dematerialization, along with other elements in the work, illustrate what Robert Descharnes and Gilles Neret have called Dali’s 'threefold synthesis of classicism, the spiritual, and concern with the nuclear age.'
Dalí’s obsession with wheelbarrows, one of which appears in Millet’s Angelus, was longstanding, but they took on a special prominence at the beginning of his Nuclear-Mystical Period. Besides appearing in 'Raphaelesque Head Exploding' and 'The Wheelbarrows,' one plays a leading role in Dali’s unrealized script, 'Wheelbarrow of Flesh' (1948-1954). The wheelbarrow had long been interpreted by Dali as a sexual symbol, representing in its configuration a popular sexual position and thus having an 'erotic personality [that] is among the most unquestionable ones.' The profusion of wheelbarrows in Dali’s eponymous wash drawing of 1951 is in keeping with Decharnes and Neret’s comment that 'Dali’s mysticism was inseparable from erotic deliria.' As Dalí pointed out in his Manifeste Mystique, ecstasy plays an essential role in his Nuclear Mysticism. However, this ecstasy wasn’t necessarily of a spiritual nature.
11x14 inches, including matting
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