Magazine
Latest Issue

Digging up Dalí: what the spectacle of the artist’s exhumation reveals about us

A soothsayer has placed a paternity claim against the great surrealist, who has been exhumed for DNA tests. Would Dalí enjoy the spectacle? More importantly: do we?

By AN Devers  

Salvador Dalí photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1939. Photo: Library of Congress

It’s no secret that Salvador Dalí had a kink for death.

“Dead faces, skulls, corpses of animals occur fairly frequently in his pictures, and the ants which devoured the dying bat make countless reappearances. One photograph shows an exhumed corpse, far gone in decomposition. Another shows the dead donkeys putrefying on top of grand pianos which formed part of the Surrealist film, Le Chien Andalou.”

So writes George Orwell, with upturned nose,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect