Although Dali said in his poem that he is the original Narcissus and the new Narcissus is Gala, I believe that this art comprises only about him: he being the old Narcissus and, after metamorphosis, the new one.
This image has
3 different time frames, and the time frame moves from left to right.
Time 1: where pool of people was being narcissistic but original Narcissus was being narcissistic in a deep unconventional way.
Time 2: where transformation happens and signs of gluttony show up.
Time 3: where decay and death happens. Ants' approach toward the Narcissus flower, dog's tearing up the flesh, and far away the melting Narcissus suggests that.
Please see the following image. The blue marked areas are time 1, the red mark area is time 2, the green marked area is time 3, and the yellow arrow represents that time is moving from left to right.
Although rebirth or transformation is the main theme in this art, death, decay, and gluttony is also pretty distinct. Now I am going to analyze the parts or time line that represents narcissism, rebirth, and death.
||The main topic of the painting is clear: transformation. Original Narcissus is contemplating and later his head becomes the flower bearing egg, while his body transforms to hand that holds the Narcissus bearing egg.
||This image represents gluttony and self absorption. The person is vainly looking at the chase board to see his reflection, but chess board, symbol for narcissistic vanity, is not life like water.
The ants on the hand represents deThe ants on the hand represent death and decay. While the ants are threatening lively Narcissus flower's existence, the dog at right is eating flesh. From the circumstantial evidence from this art, I can
conclude that the dog is eating the Narcissus.
||This specific portion, snow covered mountain, symbolizes Narcissus's death. If we look at the snow covered mountain deeply, we can see that the mountain is nothing but Narcissus: kneeling and trying to see his reflection, but now melting and decaying.
Metamorphosis happens in Dali's other paintings as well. I am going to elaborate a series of Dali's work,
where Dali portrays how he transforms and what caused him to transform. The series consists of The Great
, The Persistence of Memory
, and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory
The Great Masturbatur
The Persistence of Memory
The Disintegration of
Persistence of Memory
And in The Disintegration of Persistence of Memory
the main metamorphosis takes place. Unlike Metamorphosis of Narcissus, where 3 different time and reality takes place in one painting
, here, in this series of work, Dali portrayed individual time and reality for individual painting.
What Caused the Snail-Shaped Face to Ponder?
In The Great Masturbator
, Dali portrays Dali's or the Snail-Shaped object's sexual anxiety and fear, the moth and the ants in the painting suggests the fear and anxiety, and the egg suggests Dali's hope for a reality without fear. In this painting the subject is in standing positing as the erect nose defies gravity and holds the face on the ground as he is trying to be himself. The Snail-Shaped object or Dali starts to contemplate about his anxiety, and the next painting The Persistence of Memory
portrays his emotion and understanding while he contemplates.
The Persistence of Memory
is the second painting of this transformation series. Although it seems that the main theme is time, it is actually meditation in different time- reality. In this image 3 different time-realities takes place, and I really like Dali's portrayal of different time-reality, fear, death, and hope with different shadow, colors, and structures.
Time-Reality 1: the clock's, which's on the elevated step, represents childhood time and the shadow, and the color clearly shows that the time on the elevated step is early morning or young age.
Time-Reality 2: the clock on the snail-shaped face, which is now meditating by lying on the sand, shows afternoon or middle age, and the shadow and the color on the clock also suggest that the time of the day is mid day.
Time-Reality 3: the clock on barren olive tree portrays hope and life, and the shadow and color of that clock tells that the time is evening or future.
Please see the following image to observe the three different time-realities. The green marked area is midlife, present, the pink marked area is childhood, past, and the blue marked area is future.
What's exactly happening in this painting?
Dali is meditating about his fear and fantasizing for a fearless future. The snail-shaped face starts meditation about his anxiety and realizes that the source of the fear is his childhood anxiety toward sexual intercourse, and he sees the clocks on the fantasy elevated level with moth, a symbol of anxiety. As he closes the watch to end his fear, the ants appear on top of the closed orange watch that symbolizes the end of his fear. He, then, starts to hope for a fearless future as he sees another watch that hangs on a barren olive tree on that same fantasy elevated step.
The Disintegration of Persistence of Memory
is the third painting where the main metamorphosis takes place: the snail-shaped face transforms to a fish as all objects move from their position and from their time-reality and moves for a fearless and anxiety less time-reality.
The way in Metamorphosis of Narcissus
the original Narcissus becomes the new Narcissus flower, in the same manner, the snail-shaped face of this series of painting becomes fish, symbol for life.
Please note that these paintings can be interpreted in different ways.
I am just stating my version though I have different interpretations.
I have a lot more to say about other aspects of these paintings, but I am just keeping my analysis very short for now as interpretations
should never end as can be vast like a sea.