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Today the picture "Atomic Leda" can be seen in the Theater Museum of Salvador Dali in the city of Figueres. The author of the canvas, strange as it sounds, was inspired by his discovery of the atom and the dumping of atomic bombs on the Japanese islands in 1945. The terrifying destructive power of the atom did not scare the artist. Information about elementary particles that never touch each other and, at the same time, form surrounding reality and objects around, has become a new source of the master’s creativity and key plots of paintings. Moreover, Dali, who could not tolerate any kind of touch, saw in the principle of the structure of the world a special symbolism for himself.
"Atomic Leda" was written in 1949. At the heart of the picture is the ancient Greek myth of Leda - ruler of Sparta and Zeus - the god of all the gods of Olympus, who fell in love with the queen and appeared to her in the guise of a swan. After that, the queen laid an egg from which three children hatched - Elena Troyanskaya and twin brothers Kastor and Pollux. With Castor, the master identified his older brother, who died before his birth.
Dali made a huge number of sketches and sketches for this work, carefully and with a certain intent, placing each of the objects. As already noted, the image of each detail corresponded to the discovery of the “inviolability” of the intra-atomic structure. The very name of the picture emphasizes the new grandiose information about the atom, whose internal structure served as the composition for the image - all visible objects soar in the air and do not touch each other.
The artist wrote the image of the Spartan ruler from his wife Gala. This fact is always vigorously discussed and causes various assumptions and conjectures. Dali himself stated that he relates himself to Pollux, and his wife to Elena. But as can be seen in the picture, Gala embodies the image of Leda. Given this, many art historians note that for Dali, his wife, several years older than him, to some extent replaced his mother. Considering the marriage of Gala to be a gift of fate, Dali decorates Leda’s hand with a wedding ring and lifts it to the podium of worship and admiration.
Two other important objects in the picture are a square and a book. A square and a ruler in the form of a shadow are integral tools used in geometry. They also indicate a mathematical calculation, and in the artist's sketches the proportions of the pentagram, called the "golden section", are traced. In these calculations, Dali was promoted by the famous Romanian mathematician - Matila Gika. The book, according to many assumptions, is a bible and an indication of the artist’s return to the Catholic Church.
The background of the picture is the land and the sea, like all parts of the picture that are not in contact with each other. Salvador Dali interpreted this point on the example of one of the sketches, explaining that it was in this way that he saw a projection into the reality of the origin of “the divine and the animal”. The cliffs on the sides of the picture are part of the Catalan coast where the artist was born and raised. It is known that when Dali worked on the canvas, he was in California, so longing for his native landscapes splashed out on the pictures of the creator.