Surreal Scenes

Artist: Salvador Dali (Spanish, 1904-1989)
Title: Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach 
Date: 1938
Media: Oil on canvas

Salvador Dalí titled this painting an “Apparition” – in other words – a vision – “of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach”. The white form in the middle is the tall fruit dish. The stem of the dish morphs into the face. The eyes are landscape elements on the beach – which, if you look carefully, are actually a vase lying on its side; and the head of a child. To the left of the fruit dish, the large brown form is …what?  Can you tell? It’s the rump of a dog. Look on the other side of the fruit dish and you’ll see the dog’s large head. The pale ripples of his snout also read as ridges of sand on the distant landscape.  Everywhere we look in this painting, details begin to show themselves as more than one thing.


View this painting and other Modern artworks in a 3D tour of the Wadsworth’s Avery Court. 

Avery Court


What a strange beach! Look at this painting close up. What are some of the details you see? Now move away and look again. Do you see anything that you didn’t notice before? 

¡Que playa tan extraña! Mira de cerca esta pintura. ¿Cuáles son algunos de los detalles que ves? Ahora aléjate y ve la pintura de nuevo. ¿Ves algo que anteriormente no notaste? 


How would you describe this place? Is there anyone to talk to? Could you walk to the mountains in the distance? Could you swim in that little pool of water? Is this a place you’d want to visit? 

¿Cómo describirías tú este lugar? ¿Hay alguien con quien platicar? ¿Pudieras caminar hacia las montañas en la distancia? ¿Pudieras nadar en ese pequeño estanque de agua? ¿Es este un lugar que quisieras visitar? 


Draw a surreal creature! Think of an animal and draw it in a surreal way. How will you make it different? How about an elephant with a long neck or a giraffe with giant ears? Use your imagination!

¡Dibuja una criatura surreal! Piensa en un animal y dibújalo de manera surreal. ¿Cómo harás para que se vea diferente? ¿Qué te parece un elefante con un cuello largo o una jirafa con oídos gigantes? ¡Usa tu imaginación! 

Watch Youth and Community Programs Manager Marisely Gonzalez transform a simple thumbs-up into a flamingo, and try your hand at creating a surreal creature.