The Silver Ship, James Jebusa Shannon
Salvador Dali ~ “Masochistic Instrument”, 1934
All his life, Dali suggested he was impotent, that his greatest pleasure of the sexual kind was gained from voyeurism and masturbation. Here the “instrument” – a violin metaphor for erectile dysfunction, or at least performance anxiety – is limp and useless, and almost takes on the appearance of a face in distress. The naked woman, who we see as if we’re peeping into the neighbor’s bedroom window, holds the soft object guardedly, as if not wanting to touch much of it, if she can help it.
Contrast the left section of the canvas with phallic images of virility at right: the tall, proud and erect cypress tree, and the rigid, pink-tipped appendage emerging from it. Dali’s preoccupation with his own sexual identity, his own desires and fears within the sexual realm, seem clearly symbolized in this surrealist picture signed in deflowering red. <source>
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