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The Swallow's Tail

Salvador Dali

The Swallow's Tail

Salvador Dali
  • Date: 1983
  • Style: Abstract Art, Surrealism
  • Period: Classic Period (1941-1989)
  • Genre: figurative
  • Media: oil, canvas
  • Dimensions: 73 x 92.2 cm

The Swallow’s Tail completed in the spring in 1983, the last in a series based of paintings based on catastrophe theory, and was Salvador Dali’s last painting. Catastrophe theory, based on the thinkings of Rene Thom, posited that there are seven equilibrium surfaces: fold, cusp, swallowtail, butterfly, hyperbolic umbilic, elliptic umbilic, and parabolic umbilic. Dali incorporated each one of these surfaces into his painting, alongside the gentle and elegant curves of the cello. Set against a gentle blue background, the painting is more than just a series of shapes and curves; it is a precise representation of Dali’s understanding of and interest in mathematical theory.

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