Salvador Dali: Enigma of William Tell (1933)

leading from

The Enigma of William Tell by Salvador Dali (1933)
The Henu Barque from The Papyrus of Ani

a. ) References the Henu Barque from the Papyrus of Ani version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead?

a.i ) The boat itself transforms into the man's body with an extended buttock while also at the same tim this Lenin/William Tell character references the crouched man in the left of the image.

a.ii ) The kilt worn by the crouching man transforms into a piano

a.iii ) The horns of the antelope and also the upper part of the fan structure behind the antelope's skull transform into the stretched peak of the cap.

a.iv ) The chain on the left with the pitch fork top the are ox horns transforms into into the crutch on the left.

a.v ) The straps holding the barque down to the runners transform into a suspender being worn by the man. ) The soft white pillow like shapes held in the structure of the boat that I might wonder is a pile of sand, known as the Imhet, transforms into the man's shirt arms.

a.vii ) A falcon head as a symbol the Falcon Headed deity Sokar (similar in appearance to the Falcon headed Horus) on the left of the soft white form transforms into the head of the baby son of William Tell being held with a lamb chop upon his head.

a.viii ) The two blocks between the runner of the henu barque and the box beneath become the two nut sized objects by the soles of the sandle on the foot on the left. One tiny nut by the foot contains a baby that is supposed to be the image of Dali's wife Gala. Having said that one might also want to consider the U shaped ends of the straps holding the barque down onto the runners and see them also lending their form to the nut like objects.

a.ix ) The rudders on the right transform into a crutch 

b) References the "Treasures of Satan" by Jean Delville, (1894)?

Jean Delville's Treasures of Satan, 1894
b. i) Perhaps Dali, understanding Delville's painting's connection with the Henu Barque, decided to take the idea of the almost crouching Satan figure with its nakedness and its tentacles, and so made his William Tell something as strangely deformed, making the lower part of the body naked and one buttock deformed, creating a cruel caricature that would relate to other things.

b.ii) I might almost want to think of it and sticking a finger up at the various ideals of some the members of the Surrealists in more ways than one.

c. ) References Reclining Woman Who Dreams (1929) by Alberto Giacometti? 

Reclining Woman Who Dreams (1929) by Alberto Giacometti
c.i) I think that Giacometti's Woman Who Dreams is another one of these not spoken about homages to the Henu Barque. 

c.ii) But in comparison to The Enigma of William Tell, one might want to compare the stretched tongue like peak of the cap to the sculpture basically. 

c.iii) Giacometti took an interest in Dali's piece enough to draw a complete drawing of it in one of his sketchbooks, and also think about the horizontally elongated nature of the sculpture in general and imagine how it might have sent Dali's thoughts one way and another

d.) References AM Cassandre's Wagon Bar poster from 1932

Wagon-Bar poster by A M Cassandre (1932)

d. i) A Wagon-Bar poster by A M Cassandre from 1932 which I think seems to be generally a post-Celebes composition, but it looks as if Dali used elements from it as reference for his Enigma of William Tell.

d. ii) The bottle becomes the waist-coat.

d. iii) The pump of the soda siphon becomes the shirt sleeve and face, with the bottle part becoming the area of his left leg and buttock.

d. iv) The glass that has the straw in it turns into his right buttock and elongates.

d. v) The glass of red wine becomes the area to the left of the face glowing red.

d. vi) The baguette becomes his other arm and perhaps the extended buttocks.

d. vii) But then this poster also has these diagonal lines as a drinking straw and they might seem a bit like the Giacometti's "Reclining Woman Who Dreams' sculpture in that way. 

detail from AM Cassandre's poster leading to Dali's Legend of William Tell

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  1. Article about Salvador Dali's Enigma of William Tell (1933) posted on December 24th 2017