One of Dali's most stunning double images, The Great Paranoiac
was painted after a discussion between Dali and a fellow-artist, Jose Maria Sert, on the work of Giuseppe Arcimboldi,
a 16th-century Milanese painter celebrated for portraits whose subjects were composed entirely of related objects (fruits, for example, or weapons). In similar fashion, but with more
dynamic results, Dali's smiling paranoiac dissolves into a turbulent scene in which men and women strike attitudes of grief or dismay.
The double image is repeated, with variations, in the background to the left. To the right, by contrast, a group of exhausted figures seem to be trying to haul a boat across the sand,
perhaps acting out one of the delusions that seethe within the brain of the Great Paranoiac.