Although Dali was now famous for his contributions to Surrealist movement, he had always maintained a respect and passion for classicism, and admired Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo
, as well as Old Master painters including Vermeer
. The first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, an event
that deeply affected Dalí, prompting him to look for new ways to express rational order in his paintings. He found his inspiration in the classicism of the Italian Renaissance painting tradition
In this 1945 picture, Gala sits aristocratically, nearly naked, save for a beautifully handled white cloth and the same pearl-studded barrette in her hair as in the 1960 work. Gala contemplates the same image of her
back-to-the-viewer pose, only now it's formed by architectural columns and other details surrounding a tiny figure of a man. Her left shoulder and arm become what looks like they could be both a tower and a rocket
ship. A detail in her hair serves as both a balcony railing of an edifice and the aforementioned pear-studded barrette.
The undeniably classic look to the work - it almost looks like it could have been painted during the Renaissance.