The Lugubrious Game

The Lugubrious Game-Salvador Dali 1929
The Lugubrious Game-Salvador Dali 1929

Salvador Dali’s breakthrough Surrealist work of 1929, The Lugubrious Game (also known as the Dismal Sport) was the subject of a long, laudatory mediation by Georges Bataille, published in the seventh issue of Documents. Bataille declares that he lifts his heart to Dali as his paintings causes the viewer to grunt like a pig.

In many respects Dali was a perfect fit for Documents and Georges Bataille. In his early work Dali dredged his unconscious with its scatological and masturbatory obsessions and combined them with his pathological need to shock to create an over-lit nightmare world riddled with anxieties and phobias. However Dali, always with a keen eye for self promotion, defected over to the Breton camp of official Surrealism, for a while at least.

The titles of the painting is a reference to masturbation, a recurring theme of this period for Dali. Also featured below is The Great Masturbator and the later Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity.

The Great Masturbator-Salvador Dali 1929
The Great Masturbator-Salvador Dali 1929
Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity-Salvador Dali 1954
Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by the Horns of Her Own Chastity-Salvador Dali 1954

24 thoughts on “The Lugubrious Game

  1. I find the different ways these artist decide to position themselves throughout the art community very interesting. But if you think about it Dalí’s works don’t look like being exactly mainstream at first sight, or do they? And I find it rather worthwhile myself to shock other people, wake them up if you want it that way. Well, although I don’t always enjoy horror movies and the like.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dali is quite radical, at least in the early works. One of those artists whose true masterpiece was his life, he was very popular. The later period is kind of cosmic kitsch. A baffling figure all in all and one hard to situate in a definite and permanent context in art history. But shock is good, though it has to have a context I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

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