The Hallucinogenic Toreador

The Hallucinogenic Toreador by Salvador Dali

The Hallucinogenic Toreador by Salvador Dali was produced in 1968-70 and is considered to be one of the famous artworks of Surrealism movement. The work can be viewed now at Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida


Medium: Oil Painting 

Subject(s): bull, fight, illusion


The Hallucinogenic Toreador is an oil painting produced between 1968 and 1970 by Spanish painter Salvador Dali.

This painting was exhibited on the same year when it was completed in 1970.

The scene of the Hallucinogenic Toreador depicts a bullfighting area submerged under the color of the Spanish flag, red and the yellow tones. Salvador Dali’s wife Gala portrait was placed at the top left section of the painting. He had dedicated this painting to her. Dali’s wife always deeply disliked bullfighting and this was clearly, pictorially depicted from her serious expressions. A pattern of multicolored circles could be seen at the bottom of the painting on the left hand side. This shape attracts viewer attention towards the head of the dying bull’s from which blood and saliva was dripping out from the mouth. Dali battles with the complex illusions for the viewer similarly in this painting the toreador battles with the bull.

A green skirt gave the illusion of the bullfighter tie. Above this, a bullfighter’s shirt with a white collar button appears. A shadow above this passes through the Venus stomach which forms the bullfighter lips and chin. Venus left breast illuminated as the bullfighter’s nose and her face depict her eyes. A large group of flies and dots becomes the jacket placed to the left of the tie.

This painting by Dali was exhibited in 1970 at the New York City gallery when the work on this painting was ongoing. At that time, the image of the Toreador was very easy to see as only some illustrations designs and others were matted out completely. Several critics explicitly quoted it as How to see the toreador. This painting was painted on a very large canvas. The dimensions of the painting The Hallucinogenic Toreador were 398.8 cm × 299.7 cm or 157 in × 118 in.

The work can be viewed at Salvador Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida


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