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The famous Spanish artist Salvador Dali created the painting “Swans Reflected in Elephants” in 1937. At the dawn of his work, Dali was fond of impressionism and cubism, and then began to write in the genre of surrealism, considering himself the only real representative of this direction. In his paintings, Dali used his own method, which he defined as "paranoid-critical activity."
In this manner, "Swans Reflected in Elephants" is written, which is a double image embodying visual illusions and hallucinations. The canvas causes an ambiguous interpretation. Through reflection in the lake, one can see how parts of different objects turn into each other: swan heads turn into elephant’s, and branches of dark bare trees become the bodies of elephants. Why exactly elephants? It is known that these were Dali's favorite animals, he considered them perfect creatures for their tender and devoted care for the cubs. It is assumed that this image reflects the differences of the artist with his parents.
On the left you can see a man hunched over and turned away from the water. It is not known what will happen if he turns around - perhaps the mirage with swans and elephants will disappear? The human figure enhances the feeling of anxiety, an uncomfortable and oppressive atmosphere, but at the same time deeply immersed in what is happening. It is believed that the person in the picture is a self-portrait of Dali himself.
The painting was based on the autumn landscapes of Catalonia. The artist's brush displays a clear contrast between the cool expanse of water and the rough protrusions of the surrounding rocks. The horizon in the picture is not empty: in the distance are visible some buildings, a floating boat. But the composition is designed in such a way that key figures tightly attract attention, creating a conflict between the real and the unreal - this is the main idea of the picture.