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The Art of Hidden Emotion in Salvador Dali’s Paintings

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The Art of Hidden Emotion in Salvador Dali’s Paintings Essay

The artist Salvador Dali has created many paintings with visual and style similarities. He also seems to put his own emotions and feeling into his paintings. In two of his paintings, The Anthropomorphic Cabinet as well as The Burning Giraffe, cabinets are both used to show a deeper message than what is shown at first glance. The recurring cabinets and drawers play a huge role in the two paintings however the contrast in color and mood is what draws the two together and shows binary. The binaries and similarities ultimately creates his own style and allows him to create his own image in his paintings. Salvador Dali is just one of many artists to use their personal emotion and mood to create a masterpiece of a painting as so many other artists do. Doing this helps create a connection between the viewer and the artist as it helps the viewer feel what the artist feels without the artist specifically explaining it.

In The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, the colors Dali uses create a sense of anger or misery, on the contrary to his other painting, The Burning Giraffe. The colors red, brown, and orange typically resemble anger and in this image it’s to be believed he is trying to point that out as well. On this monstrous figure, there are revealing drawers opened creating a representation of him wanting to be open and honest and not keep secrets. However; the figure is laying on the floor creating a scene of it being in pain. The given colors in the painting lead the viewer to believe that he is angered, in pain, or in agony. The man is shielding with his arm from what seems to be another figure in the far background which leads viewers to believe that he had tried to open up to someone and was ultimately hurt upon attempting to open. Dali may have tried to personally open up and to be shut down which may be why the man looks so helpless on the floor. The mood is not a sense of happiness whatsoever, from the color scheme to the figure looking broken on the floor with drawers open and spilling everywhere. Although in this painting he is in pain not all of his work shows him feeling helpless and worthless.

In Dali’s artistic creation, The Burning Giraffe, he, once again, utilizes cabinets and drawers to show emotion that cannot be seen at first, much like in The Anthropomorphic Cabinet. The open drawers may reach out to Salvador’s feelings by symbolizing a feeling of openness and trust, much similar to The Anthropomorphic Cabinet. This enables Salvador to express his emotions without specifically going out and stating it once again. The artist additionally paints two thin figures who are being upheld by sticks, which is acting as an object to hold him up. The help that the figures appear to have, could be enthusiastic help from somebody other than themselves. However, this could be the before events to The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, as if even a little more weight, or in his case, a heartbreak, could cause a collapse in character. Dali included, once again, an unordinary figure in the work of art, a burning giraffe, which is likewise the item that the whole painting is named after. The giraffe that is depicted out of sight of the image, may, once more, speak to Dali’s emotion. In spite of the fact that he feels as though he can securely open up while accepting help, he also feels as though there’s something in the back of his mind that is tearing him apart inside. The reason the artwork is named after this generally little detail might be on the grounds that the artist makes a decent attempt to cover his emotions, yet even the littlest contemplations can gradually consume in the back of his conscience, creating a thought of concern and worrisome. The last detail that Dali joins into his image is the color scheme plan. Dali picks the shading blue, which speaks to trust, dedication, and smoothness, to be the fundamental structure for his artwork. The color plan he picked correlates with the remains of the painting and any feeling and emotion Dali may had been encountering. The subtleties of the painting that Salvador Dali painted correlate speak to any emotions he may have had at the time. Each shading and item has a more important role in the painting than what the viewer may see. This picture is very different than the The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, however in many ways similar.

Many artists, like Salvador Dali, use color schemes and their actual moods they are feeling at the time and represent them in ways unimaginable. By using cabinets to represent his feeling of being open and trusting people is very creative and insightful. His usage of binaries however helps to distinguish his two polar-opposite moods. Although in the back of the mind he is feeling a small issue of distraught and is in need of a support system, which is represented by sticks in The Burning Giraffe, to ultimately save him from complete collapse. In the painting The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, however, the man is broken beyond saving as a figure is broken with cabinets spilling open. With what little strength the man has, he tries to shield himself, however, that is just not enough to save him from his pain. Artists use this way of painting as a way of using a diary. Spilling their hearts out and painting how they feel. Like many people know, a picture says a thousand words.

Works Cited

  • “The Anthropomorphic Cabinet.” The Anthropomorphic Cabinet, 1936 by Salvador Dali.
  • “The Burning Giraffe.” The Burning Giraffe by Salvador Dali,


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