|Courtesy of www.DaliPaintings.com|
Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, first shown at Dali's solo exhibition at M. Knoedler & Co., New York, in 1943, records Dali's shifting perception of the war then in progress in Europe. The war's devastation and its psychological impact on Dali can already be felt in some of his more somber canvases before his period in America. In this painting, however, his style shows a new, more philosophical classicism.
His initial notes for the work read:
parachute, paranaissance, protection, cupola, placenta, Catholicism, egg, earthly distortion, biological ellipse. Geography changes its skin in historic germination."
These cryptic words offer some hint of the work's meaning: at the bottom right of the painting, the gaunt body of a classical figure, standing for the Old World and its emaciated civilization, reveals a central scene to a child, who peeks at the male struggling out of a terrestrial globe, distorted into the shape of an egg, which cracks open and releases a globule of placental blood. This strange scene, emblematic of the emergence of a new order after the war, stands in direct opposition to the desperate imagery of Dali's earlier painting Spider of the Evening, countering the more pessimistic sentiments of 1940. The small child, unlike the weeping putto in Spider of the Evening, does not lament. The central scene of global rebirth is protected by a parachute-like floating cupola that, when seen in conjunction with the cloth at the bottom, forms an oyster-like configuration of fabric which open; to present the pearly clarity of Dali's optimistic new vision. The emerging figure, modeled after the central, kicking figure in the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais's painting Isabella of 1849, bursts out from the North American continent, which Dali saw as a center of propitious growth a "historic germination" that seemed evident to him during his time in America. The small background figures that flank the global egg the left group taken from Marriage of the Virgin by Raphael, and the right from studies related to John the Baptist form an allusive framing device.