I don’t usually open with someone else’s words, but Dali’s “Couple with their heads full of clouds”, really brings to mind the poetry of Percy Shelley for me, so here is the first stanza for you to enjoy while looking at this beautiful piece of surrealism.
“I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid,
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.”
The poem cleverly uses imagery of the unending cycle of nature, a cyclical metamorphosis, which describes birth, death and rebirth. The work was published in a collection called ‘Prometheus Unbound’ and was published in 1820, 116 years before Dali’s creation, yet they sit together so well for me.
Dali’s painting would be seemingly ordinary, if it weren’t for the shaped frames of what appears to be lovers. The more feminine on the right leaning in to the masculine on the left, and it feels that they are looking out to something.
A vast landscape within them, almost empty tables at the heart of their bodies, yet the couples heads filled with clouds, almost like endless possibilities, the joys of life and all of its cycle laid before them, in their thoughts and dreams.
The goal of surrealism was to bring back the wonderful in to every day life, and Dali certainly achieved that. Viewing this painting live, as I stood in the Boijmans museum, filled me with absolute awe. Too often, as we get older, do we forget to stop and look around us. We get bogged down with the mundane, and our heads get filled with the next bill which needs to be paid, or what is happening at work, and we miss the beautiful endless cycle of nature happening around us.
Take a leaf from Dali’s book and go discover the beautiful endless cycle happening around you.
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