The Hallucinogenic Toreador is a complex compendium of Salvador Dalí’s work on an immense 10′ canvas and an instructive example of his method of artistic creation. By combining symbolism with optical illusions and estranging yet familiar motifs, he creates his own visual language. His application of the paranoiac-critical method within this painting combines versatile images as an instructive example of his artistic creation.The Venus de Milo on the right was engendered by a fortuitous double image seen on a common box of Venus de Milo-brand coloring pencils. Dalí’s scrutiny of the negative spaces in the well-known image produced the complementary, alternate image of a bullfighter to the left of the main Venus de Milo.
This creative chronicle is dedicated to Gala, Dalí’s wife, who is seen in a cameo-like apparition at the upper left; she looks disapprovingly at the bullfight scene while returning the young Dalí’s gaze. In broad view, the painting is a kind of visual autobiography, prompted by the chance viewing of the Venus de Milo, the cold stone of which (in a twist of the myth of Pygmalion) is transformed into an artistic vision. The beloved landscape of the artist’s birthplace, the innocence of childhood, the bullfights of youth, the legends of his adolescence, the unfolding interests of his maturity, and the faith in his wife-all are placed beneath our gaze, suffused with the red and yellow tones of the Spanish national flag. [source]