Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach
Be the first to vote…
ebrowne's picture


Dali’s Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach takes indecisiveness to a whole new level.

Is it a hill or a dog? A bowl of pears or a face? A dog collar or a bridge? If you have your heart set on answers, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. This painting is all of those things at once and, based on the person looking at the artwork, it can change from one thing to the other at the drop of a hat.

Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach is like those optical illusion pictures of one form that can be interpreted two different ways, like the picture of a duck or a bunny, an old woman or a young woman, an elephant with four legs or an elephant with five legs – the ones that always seemed to be in pediatric dentist’s waiting rooms in the '90’s. The difference between those pictures and this painting is that this painting is a priceless work of art.

Dali’s “double images” were a part of his “'paranoic-critical method,' a creative process of interpreting unconscious thoughts and feelings.” The works that resulted from this method were supposed to challenge audiences. Apparently the American public ate that stuff up, earning Dali great fame and fortune, to the detriment of André Breton, who apparently just couldn’t see his friends succeed without getting super mad. He called these work by Dali "entertainments on the level of crossword puzzles." He was obviously just jealous because Dali was becoming an international celebrity and he was busy kicking people out of a group that was founded on nonsense.

The longer you look at this piece, the more utterly bizarre it becomes. There’s a beach, some naked people, a long rope, some sort of fish, and a lot of other stuff you can’t figure out. It’s confusing and crowded and honestly pretty creepy, which is all exactly Dali's style. 




  1. "Apparition Of Face And Fruit Dish On A Beach, 1938 By Salvador Dali." Web. 5 Sept. 2018.
  2. Gottesman, Sarah. "What You Need To Know About Salvador Dalí." Artsy. N.p., 2016. Web. 5 Sept. 2018.
  3. "SALVADOR DALI, APPARITION OF FACE AND FRUIT DISH ON A BEACH | Wadsworth Atheneum." Wadsworth Atheneum. N.p., 2018. Web. 5 Sept. 2018.

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach

Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach (1938) is a painting by the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí.

The painting is dominated by a depiction of brown-skinned pears with the eponymous footed silver fruit bowl, which somewhat resembles a wine glass (specifically a coupe). A deliberately created optical illusion of the eponymous human face (a face which would reappear in one of Dalí's later works, The Endless Enigma) occupies the same space as the dish; the fruits suggest wavy hair, the dish's bowl becomes the forehead, the stem of the dish serves as the bridge of the nose, and the dish's foot doubles as the chin. The eyes of the large face, however, are formed by background objects lying on the sand at the edge of the strand — deeper in the image — rather than sharing form with the fruit dish. The face's right eye is what appears to be a shell, and the face's left eye a piece of a ship or boat.

In the middle ground of the scene, where the sand of the beach appears to end, a small version of the fruit dish can be seen on the ground with several pears scattered near it, all to the same scale as the only embodied human figures depicted in the painting. A second iteration of the face appears further in the distance, just to the right of the elbow of the nude male figure; in the same area of the painting, two dogs are playing along a path in the distance. One of those dogs is itself an echo of the immense, illusionary figure of a dog which stretches from the left to the right margin of the painting, with the dog's collar formed by a multi-arched bridge or aqueduct in the landscape beyond. This repetition of shapes is a frequent motif in Dalí's surrealist works.

Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach is part of the Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach.