Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


Dali, Salvador - by Matthew Milliner


by Matthew J. Milliner
At mid-career, Salvador Dalí embraced two chief taboos of modern art: Renaissance-style figurative painting and the traditional imagery of Christian faith. Dalí charged--with characteristic audacity--that his contemporaries might as well be painting with their own excrement, for "their material comes so directly from the tube of their biology without mixing in it even a bit of their heart or soul."

What caused Dalí to abandon the Surrealist principles he had once embraced? He attributes the change to a new awareness prompted by the atomic explosion of August 6, 1945. "The decadence of modern painting was a consequence of skepticism and lack of faith, the result of mechanistic materialism," explains Dalí's 1951 Mystical Manifesto. Modern art painted nothing because it believed in nothing. Instead, Dalí sought to a combine the insights of contemporary physics with Old Masters technique and the Spanish mysticism to which he prayed daily that Picasso, too, would soon return. Dalí's newfound Catholicism had yet to produce the fruit of humility. "Now the new era of mystic painting," the Mystical Manifesto concludes, "begins with me."