Dali vs Miro
Both artists, however, were able to solve creative and artistic dilemmas "once they felt able to influence objects, to manipulate them according to desires unknown even to themselves" (Nadeau 203). A key distinction between the two is the treatment of images: Dali favoured representational imagery while Miro preferred abstract imagery. This representational distinction is evident in Dali's painting, Accommodations of Desire (1926) while Miro's abstraction can be observed in The Potato (1928).
Dali, who joined the Surrealists in 1929, created Accommodations of Desire three years earlier out of only oil paint and not, as the Metropolitan Museum of Art indicates, cut-and-pasted print paper on cardboard. The oil paint colours are chosen with great care, for they carry a certain degree of meaning. The viewer first sees the white pebbles that take up a large portion of the space. Because they are white, the pebbles seem to be screens for emphasizing the objects that are on them; the white colour acts as a sort of highlight as the pebbles are even accompanied by cast shadows.
These shadows also alert the viewer that the pebbles are three-dimensional objects. Also contributing to Accommodations is the intensity of the colours. The reds of the outlined lion's mane and the lion's afterimage draw attention to themselves. Noted art historian and writer Dawn Ades believes that red is a colour of passion, rage, and blood and is therefore used to intensify the emotions that Dali has put into the painting itself (Ades 78). The ground takes up approximately 95% of the canvas. Its brown colour serves as both a contrast to the white pebbles and as a surreal foundation on which all of the other elements of the painting rest.
Brown itself is made when almost all of the colours in a palette are mixed. The composition is therefore a murky, hodgepodge of elements blended together just as the proposed themes of the painting are molded together. Miro's use of colour differs from Dali's blending and prevalent three-dimensionality. The Potato was painted using the strong primary colours of blue, red, and yellow although green and brown do show up in small areas. Miro's work conforms to the fantasy dimension of surrealism as it, at first glance, radiates a childlike aura as demonstrated by the simple, unblended primary colours.
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