demonstrates Dali's use of the multiple image: the lake can simultaneously be seen as a fish. By such doubling he sought to challenge rationality. The painting combines
personal and public references. His parents visited this lake after the death of their first child, also called Salvador. Dali seems to have been haunted by the death of his namesake
brother whom he never knew.
Like his contemporaries Miro
, Dali responded with alarm to the wars and threats of wars that
plagued civilization in the late 1930s. According to Dali himself, in Mountain Lake the telephone represents the apparatus used by Britain's prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, to
negotiate with Hitler; at that date it was still a novel instrument of diplomacy. The fragility of the process is indicated by the presence of a crutch, and by the fact that the line
has been cut. The purely personal element in the painting remains strong, expressed through the striking double image of the lake, which can equally well be viewed as a fish on a slab
or a ale sexual organ!