Salvador Dalí once proclaimed: “Nothing moves me more than the concept of angels”. Indeed, he was fascinated with the idea that celestial beings could take on physical form, and he avidly studied Spanish masters. Dalí created two little known angelic masterpieces. With these two black bronze sculptures, Dalí shared his hypnotic vision of how angels would manifest in the fluid world of surrealism and in the sharp-edged realm of cubism—both with a frisson of danger.
Dalí’s androgynous Surrealist Angel is flowing and sensuous, yet its clenched fists imply a latent threat and the mask-like face is sharp and slightly sinister. The Cubist Angel, clearly female, nevertheless displays an angular awkwardness, her pose a cross between jaunty and challenging as if daring us to gaze further.
Meditating on Dalí’s angels can be slightly disturbing, reminding us of life’s constant pull between peace and violence, compassion and contempt. Dali’s imagination took the historic vision of cherubim and seraphim and turned it inside out, showing us the daemon inside his angels. Ultimately, we can bask in the sheer primal power of these figures, since Dali has shown us the darkness hidden in the divine angelic form.
Many people prefer to think of angels as beings of sweetness and light. Yet Milton’s magnificent creation of Lucifer, the fallen angel, and his brooding presence, remind us that the devil, too, was once considered an angel. Dalí invites us to widen our view of the angelic world and to think of angels across a much broader spectrum than we are accustomed to. The Surrealist and the Cubist Angel resemble all the beauty and darkness contained in the human psyche. Yet Dalí’s angels are more than human. They invite us into the mystery of the ancient power and fascination of the unseen world around us.
Author:”Sylvia Moss is a renowned fine arts photographer and author of the book “Angels of New York,” a stunning visual journey of the spectacular displays of angels that grace New York architecture. Sylvia brings her unique perspective as an international sound and energy healer to her work. She is passionate about helping people be well and transform with the healing energy of angels. Sylvia’s angels have been exhibited in many New York and US galleries, MoMA Wales, and private collections.