Dada & Surrealism

Salvador Dali

Metamorphosis of Narcissus


Oil on canvas

51,2 x 78,1 cm

Tate Modern, London


The metamorphosis of Narcissus is in relation with the greek myth about the young handsome man called Narcissus, every ladies loved him, they all wanted to marry him but he didn’t at all took attention about them so he break all of them their heart.

One day he saw his own reflection on the water and he fell in love with himself. Unfortunatly the gods punished him to have seen his reflection.

He fell in the water and died of sadness. At the same place a Narcissus rose up from earth to remind Narcissus unconscious and beauty but also selfishness.


For this painting, Salvador Dali shows on the left side Narcissus sitting in the water looking at itself. On the right side we can see nearly the same shape but showing a hand holding an egg and from there a Narcissus is coming out.


Behind I can see the ladies in love dancing.


The colours are quite dark, well as Caravaggio’s painting. But it shows really the selfishness of Narcissus because really who could fall in love with himself that is very absurd as the Surrealism definition says.

I can also see a lot of symbols in this painting who they may be abstract but if we really think about I am sure I could find a meaning for each of those.

There are two kind of colours, on the left side it is more black and red and on the right side it is more blue, white and a mix of red, black. The left side shows the unconscious, sadness and all these ladies dancing behind him trying to win his heart.

On the right background there is like a sculpture of a men who could be Narcissus just showing the world that he is the most handsome boy.

And there is a dog, what is doing a dog in the painting? Maybe it is the symbol of a Greek god who punished Narcissus. Actually I have no idea. There are such a lot of meaning, you never know which one is the right one. The only person who really knows is the painter, but there are old paintings so you wouldn’t be able to ask the painter.

Well, I chose this painting because it is quite interesting to have a different interpretation of Caravaggio’s painting and Dali’s. I like the different vison we can have. Just try to guess what is happening. But also I like it because there is a nice meaning behind the painting and the Greek myth.

Just don’t be selfish, like other people even there are not like you…


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