The enigma of Hitler, Dalí

The enigma of Hitler, Dalí
The enigma of Hitler, Dalí

When we say that art and history are intimately linked brothers and that one cannot be understood without the other, we often tend to think that we are talking about artistic testimonies of past times that refer to even older historical facts and forgotten, events that had already happened or in any case were happening when the work of art was executed. However, on some occasions, art is even prescient, capable of anticipating the historical events that would happen later. Therefore, once again we must point out that to understand art it is necessary to understand history, otherwise the canvas becomes the support of a painting that ends up being empty and vacuous, without no meaning.


Salvador Dalí was one of the most recognized artists of surrealist aesthetics and modern Spanish painting, together with Picasso and Miró they form the Spanish modern triad that will lay the foundations for new artistic conceptions in the Iberian Peninsula. As a good surrealist painter, the one from Figueras represented in his dreams an oneiric world in which he accommodated his dreams but also his nightmares. On this occasion, the artist represents not one of his personal fears, as was the case with ants, but rather a fear that devastated all of Europe, the beginning of World War II.

In September 1938, the so-called Munich Agreements took place, aseries of meetings between some of the most notable politicians of the time in which Germany, under Adolf Hitler, was allowed to annex the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia. The fact that the European powers allowed it shows their weakness and the urgent need to avoid a new war.

On a burnt and half-broken olive branch that heralds the inevitable contest appears a broken black telephone, whose end seems to resemble a lobster's claw in a threatening position and whose cable is broken as a sign of the end of communications between countries. A tear drops from the same telephone alluding to the sad news received from the other side and in the branch, hanging uselessly an umbrella representing the English government in its equally useless negotiations with the German leader.

Under the phone a small plate containing a passport-size photograph of Hitler and a few beans that presage the hunger that awaits the people with the arrival of war. On the canvas the artist has represented some bats, for which he felt real terror as well as a woman who seems to be hiding behind the English umbrella and who is a shadow of the loneliness that will provoke a new world conflict.

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