Los tres enigmas gloriosos de Gala (The Three Glorious Enigmas of Gala)

Salvador Dalí

Figueras, Girona, Spain, 1904 - 1989
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    130 x 140 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 
  • Donation of the artist, 1988

The Three Glorious Enigmas of Gala was painted in the same year as the death of Salvador Dalí’s wife, Gala, with some historians claiming that this poignant homage alluded to the three periods of his career alongside his muse and lifelong companion. This, for instance, was evidenced in Confesiones inconfesables (The Unspeakable Confessions, Bruguera, 1975) as Dalí wrote: “Gala became an element of fundamental catalysis in my life. She transcends my visual and emotional memory. […] For me she is indispensable; thanks to her I can produce my elixir, my delight, and the substance of strength, all of which enable me to overcome myself and dominate the world.” Gala’s death was a loss the artist never managed to get over and it would contribute to the progressive physical decline of his health from that time on, up until his death in 1989. In these final years Dalí was immersed in imbuing his own language with the secrets of Classicism and the old masters from Western artistic tradition, turning to the masterpieces by greats such as Diego Velázquez and Miguel Ángel. In the painting three objects appear that we can identify as profiles of sculpted heads lying sideways and diminishing in size as they are repeated on the landscape. In El camino de Dalí (Diario personal, 1978-1989) (The Way of Dalí [Personal Journal 1978–1989], Siruela, 2004) Ignacio Gómez de Liaño also relates them to the enigmas of tragedy, or some of its elements, given that the artist was writing his tragedy Mártir (Martyr) during that period.

Ruth Gallego Fernández