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Salvador Dali And Alice In Wonderland

1347 words - 6 pages

In 1969, Salvador Dali, a surrealist painter and admirer of Sigmund Freud, appropriated John Tenniel’s illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Often expressing the capacity of dreams and imagination, Dali and Carroll become linked together as the center of surrealist concerns. Both men create a world where logic and reality get twisted creating an alternative universe. Dali’s expression of Alice, in a realm of unconscious, brings forward the idea of Freudian understanding. Dali’s strong use of color and symbolism in his works, while understanding Freudian Principles, represent Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland just as well as if not better than Tenniel’s illustrations.
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In all twelve illustrations, those provided by Dali, Alice is a simulacrum. The simulacrum, “an insubstantial form or semblance of something”, of Alice is a black silhouette jumping a rope which symbolizes the idea of paranoia and madness in wonderland (Encyclopedia Britannica). Dali’s repetitive us of Alice in each illustration further pushes the idea of paranoia. This gives a sense of being followed and creates hostility just as Alice had created between her and the other characters. Dali’s simulacrum of Alice is important because of its ability to represent wonderlands madness, as the Cheshire cat states, “we’re all mad here. I’m Mad. Your Mad”(Carroll, 58).
In comparison Tenniel’s illustrations of Alice change slightly in appearance and each new appearance brings new expression. When looking at figures one and two we can see how each appearance of Alice changes in meaning. Figure one is the queen of hearts yelling at Alice and the illustration displays Alice standing upright, almost in a thinking pose curious to whom this queen is. This figure expresses Alice’s curiosity and her willingness to talk to those she doesn’t know. In figure two, cards attacking Alice, there is a complete change of expression. This figure shows Alice being courageous and standing up to her fears. The image shows the maturity of Alice over time throughout the twisted universe of wonderland. Although Tenniel’s illustrations express the emotions that come from Alice, Dali’s Alice continues the idea of madness throughout the twisted dreamlike universe that wonderland is portrayed as almost giving a better interpretation to Carroll’s surrealist story.
Tenniel’s ink cartoon illustrations differ greatly from Dali’s surrealist illustrations in that Dali expressed moods and feelings with his use of warm hues in his illustrations. Dali’s use of blue and green hues in the pool of tears, figure 3, is a great example of how he expressed moods. The use of green gives off a strong emotional feel that is often linked to safety and the pool’s watery feel is seen with the use of the blue hues. Mixing both of these colors together represents Alice’s sadness that leads to her crying which created the pool of tears. Using colors can sometimes be helpful in getting across the emotions of the characters and Dali did an excellent job at doing so, almost as great as his use of symbolism in his illustrations.
Dali’s illustration titled “The Mock Turtles Story”, figure 4, is a great example of the symbolism he incorporated into his works. In this illustration the three main subject points are Alice, butterfly, and the mock turtle. Alice is once again in this illustration a black silhouette, which continues that idea of madness and paranoia. This is a big emphasis in all of his pieces seeing as paranoia is a common idea among surrealism. Also in this figure is the orange butterfly that appears in the top right corner. According to Avia Venefica, an expert on symbolism, “ the...

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