As a leading proponent of Surrealism, Salvador Dali sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious through strange, dream-like imagery. "Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to
be shackles limiting our vision" - according to Dali.
Inventions of the Monsters
has an ominous mood. It is rife with threats of danger, from the menacing fire in the distance to the sibylline figure in the foreground with an hourglass and a butterfly, both symbols of
the inevitability of death. Next to this figure sit Dali and his wife and muse, Gala. With his native Catalonia embroiled in the Spanish Civil War, the artist surely felt great anxiety over a world without a safe haven, a
world that indeed had allowed for the invention of monsters.
While Surrealists such as Giorgio de Chirico and Rene Magritte
generally focused on unlocking the mystery of everyday objects, Salvador Dali populated his visionary landscapes
with the often monstrous creatures of his imagination. Dali also favored dazzling displays of painterly skill, rather than the deadpan realism of de Chirico and Magritte, in giving his scenes a dramatic and hallucinatory