Dali made Soft Construction with Boiled Beans
to represent the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Dali painted this 6 months before the Spanish Civil War had even begun and then claimed that he had known the war was going
to happen in order to appear to have prophet-like abilities due to "the prophetic power of his subconscious mind." Dali may have changed the name of the painting after the war in a manner of proving this prophetic quality,
though it is not entirely certain.
Dali painted it in 1936, but there were studies found of it that dated back to 1934. It is a picture of a geometric monster type creature and connected to a similar monster. The two creatures appear to be two parts of the same
creature so that it appears to be wrestling itself. All over the background and on parts of the monster are boiled beans that look like they are melting. The monster stands on trees and a brown wooden box. The background is a
blue sky with clouds, that are darker in some parts and lighter in others.
Dali and his wife, Gala, were trapped in the middle of a general strike and an armed uprising by Catalan separatists in 1934, in Catalonia, and this may have influenced his Spanish Civil War motif. Dali and Gala had to run
away to Paris, where they actually got married. Dali and Gala had hired an escort to take them safely to Paris, but the escort died on his return because of the stresses of the Spanish Civl War. When Dali had finally returned
home, his house in Port Lligat was destroyed by the war. He was also greatly affected because his friend was executed in the war and his sister Ana Maria was imprisoned and tortured.
Gruesome, bizarre, and excruciatingly meticulous in technique, Salvador Dali's paintings rank among the most compelling portrayals of the unconscious mind. Dali described this convulsively arresting picture as "a vast human body
breaking out into monstrous excrescences of arms and legs tearing at one another in a delirium of autostrangulation." The desecration of the human body was a great preoccupation of the Surrealists in general, and of Dali in particular.
Here, the figure's ecstatic grimace, taut neck muscles, and petrifying fingers and toes create a vision of disgusting fascination.