Skin

The Symbolism of a DalГ­-Inspired Tattoo


В Paul Almasy/Getty Images

Spanish Surrealist painter Salvador DalГ­В dreamed up some seriously stunning images. It's no surprise that some art lovers, DalГ­ fans, and even those less familiar with his work draw inspiration from hisВ paintings and objects for tattoos.В

Using symbolism to connect the dream world to waking life, many of DalГ­'s paintings conveyВ some dark and twisted ideas, which art critics today attribute to a possible undiagnosed mental illness. At five years old, DalГ­'s parents told him that he was the reincarnation of his brother who had died just nine months before his own birth. He took this knowledge very seriously and became convinced it was true.

He went on to live an eccentric life with many ups and downs prior to his death in 1989. His most distinctive pieces of art captured a maddening cycle of thoughts and processes, perhaps inspired by his interest in studying Sigmund Freud.

While all ofВ DalГ­'s works are celebrated, his mostВ iconicВ piece is "The Persistence of Memory," which features melting pocket watches and ants.В The artistВ relied on the use of object symbolism to portray thoughts, emotions, fears, and subconscious desires. If you want to express through your own tattoo body art some of the same concepts behind DalГ­'sВ symbolism, take a look at these six popular objectsВ the artist was known for.

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Melting Clocks

Courtney Collison/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Depicted first in his famed piece "The Persistence of Memory,"В clocks were a recurring object in DalГ­'s work. The melting clocks were an expression of time passing in waking life even as one sleeps.

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Ants

Also featured in "The Persistence of Memory" and "The Ants," these little crawlers symbolize mortality, death, and decay. This doesn't necessarily have to be dark-another perspective could be acknowledging life's natural cycle.

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Eggs

oddsock/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

DalГ­ used eggs to represent love and hope in his works. Whether gilded, painted in a Russian motif, or drawn cracking open, eggs are fragile, and so is life. Embrace this symbolism and place your egg wherever you don't want it to break. The space on the chest above theВ heart might be a meaningful spot.

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Lobsters

Not just a painter, DalГ­ also created bizarre objects. Depicting sexuality, he first used a lobster in his creation titled "Lobster Telephone." FeaturingВ a plaster lobster as the phone's earpiece, the work symbolizes erotic pain and pleasure. The imagery of a lobster might also be appealing to anyone interested in the Western astrological water signs.

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Drawers

In DalГ­'s work, drawers represented women's concealed sexual desires. Once the drawers become slightly opened, as painted in "The Anthropomorphic Cabinet," the secrets of their sexuality are revealed.

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Elephants

Seen in DalГ­ paintings such as "The Elephants" and "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening," the artist's iconic lanky elephants with their spindly legs carry obelisks (symbolizing burdens) atop their backs. These glorious creatures representВ strength and perseverance.

Inspired by DalГ­

Salvador DalГ­'s Surrealist work is extremely beautiful and thought-provoking. To have symbols inspired by his art tattooed on your body is a tribute to his brilliance, but it can also be your own way of expressing your feelings, dreams, and desires. Or, it could just be pure art appreciation.