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Photographer's Note

Six months ago I had posted the image of a small child at an art gallery as The Young Connoisseur, where a three year old boy appeared transfixed by the sight of a large 18th century painting. The present photo with the little girl concentrating on the Salvador Dali painting, “Sacrament of the Last Supper,” can be regarded as a sequel to the Young Connoisseur. The room in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC where the painting hangs was virtually devoid of visitors when the child’s mother brought her into the room in a stroller. I noticed that the little girl appeared fascinated by the painting. She instinctively climbed out of her stroller and approached Dali's painting. Her mother reported that this young connoisseur is 3 1/2 years old.

“Surrealism, c’est moi!” Dali used to boast, and rightfully so. Although no rendition of the Last Supper (nor for that matter any other painting in history has the power of Leonardo's "Last Supper," Dali's version is one of the more memorable. Painted for the National Gallery in 1954-’55, Dali created his work with Christ and the twelve apostles placed symmetrically. The sun setting behind Christ creates shadows on the table of each of the apostles, the two halves of a small loaf of bread, and even the glass of wine. Christ, a transparent-translucent creature, casts no shadow. The background is a bay near Dali’s home of Port Lligat in Catalonia. The painting has a length-to-width ratio of 1.618 to 1.000, the golden ratio, just as in the Parthenon, a creation of Phidias in the Periclean Age of Greece.

A polyhedral shape, located just below the arms of the Lord (the Lord’s face omitted), is used as an organizing frame. It happens to be the dodecahedron with 12 pentagonal façades. Dali explained the significance of the figure as a celebration of the number 12: the twelve apostles, the twelve hours of daylight, the twelve months of the year… For the Pythagoreans of antiquity the dodecahedron was alone among the five regular polyhedra for not being associated with one of the four basic elements — indivisible entities or "atomos" — that comprised all matter. (The others are the tetrahedron, cube, octahedron and icosahedron.) The dodecahedron was a cult figure representing the shape of the universe. Salvador Dali most likely did not know this, but what poetic irony that he would unwittingly choose the dodecahedron to frame the thirteen individuals.

When I was a young undergraduate I met Mr. Dali, and even sat at a dinner next to him. He was a colorful, engaging character, with a dry sense of humor. Recently, a friend sent me the UTube, that I would like to share with you, if you’ve stayed with me through the interminable text: Salvador Dali on “What’s my Line?”, an old television program that I remember from my youth

Nikon D200, 18-70 mm Nikkor lens. Shot wit ISO 200, in RAW mode.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6781 W: 471 N: 12169] (41261)
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