digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Leda Atomica
Leda atomica.jpg
Artist Salvador Dalí
Year 1949
Type Oil on canvas
Dimensions 61.1 cm × 45.3 cm (24.1 in × 17.8 in)
Location Dalí Theatre and Museum, Figueres

Leda Atomica is a painting by Salvador Dalí, made in 1949. The picture depicts Leda, the mythological queen of Sparta, with the swan. Leda is a frontal portrait of Dalí's wife, Gala, who is seated on a pedestal with a swan suspended behind and to her left. Different objects such as a book, a set square, two stepping stools and an egg float around the main figure. In the background on both sides, the rocks of Cap Norfeu (on the Costa Brava in Catalonia, between Roses and Cadaqués) define the location of the image.

The painting is exhibited in the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres and Mirberry Mews, Nottingham courtesy of the Blackwell Art Foundation.

Mythological background[edit]

Leda was admired by Zeus, who raped her in the guise of a swan on her wedding night when she slept with her husband Tyndareus. This double consummation of her marriage resulted in two eggs, each of them hatching twins: from the first egg Castor and Pollux, and from the second Clytemnestra and Helen.

Structure of the painting[edit]

Leda Atomica is organized according to a rigid mathematical framework, following the "divine proportion". Leda and the swan are set in a pentagon inside which has been inserted a five-point star of which Dalí made several sketches. The five points of the star symbolize the seeds of perfection: love, order, light (truth) willpower and word (action).

The harmony of the framework was calculated by the artist following the recommendations of Romanian mathematician Matila Ghyka. Unlike his contemporaries who took the view that mathematics distracted from or interrupted artistic inspiration, Dalí considered that any work of art, to be such, had to be based on composition and calculation.[1] Ghyka's influence is clear in the mathematical formula of the golden ratio in the lower right of the image

\varphi = \frac{1 + \sqrt{5}}{2}

which Ghyka specifically cites to calculate the side of a regular pentagon.[2]

Symbolism of the painting[edit]

After the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Dalí took his work in a new direction based on the principle that the modern age had to be assimilated into art if art was to be truly contemporary. Dalí acknowledged the discontinuity of matter, incorporating a mysterious sense of levitation into his Leda Atomica. Just as one finds that at the atomic level particles do not physically touch, so here Dalí suspends even the water above the shore—an element that would figure into many other later works.[2] Every object in the painting is carefully painted to be motionless in space, even though nothing in the painting is connected. Leda looks as if she is trying to touch the back of the swan’s head, but doesn’t do it.

Dalí himself described the painting in the following way:

"Dalí shows us the hierarchized libidinous emotion, suspended and as though hanging in midair, in accordance with the modern 'nothing touches' theory of intra-atomic physics. Leda does not touch the swan; Leda does not touch the pedestal; the pedestal does not touch the base; the base does not touch the sea; the sea does not touch the shore. . . ."[3]

In reference to the classical myth Dalí identified himself with the immortal Pollux while his deceased older brother (also called Salvador) would represent Castor, the mortal of the twins. Another equivalence could be made regarding the other twins of the myth, Dalí’s sister Ana María being the mortal Clytemnestra, while Gala would represent divine Helen.[1] Salvador Dalí himself wrote: "I started to paint Leda Atómica which exalts Gala, the metaphysical goddess and succeeded to create the ‘suspended space’".

Dalí’s Catholicism enables also other interpretations of the painting. The painting can be conceived as Dalí's way of interpreting the Annunciation. The swan seems to whisper her future in her ear, possibly a reference to the legend that the conception of Jesus was achieved by the introduction of the breath of the Holy Ghost into the Virgin Mary’s ear. Leda looks straight into the bird's eyes with an understanding expression of what is happening to her and what will happen in the future to her and to her unsure reality. Dalí's transformation of Mary is the result of love as if he created his love to Gala, like God to Mary.[4]


  • Jean-Louis Ferrier - Dalí, Leda atomica : anatomie d'un chef-d'oeuvre – Gonthier, Paris, 1980 - ISBN 978-2-282-30166-2


  1. ^ a b Maurell, Rosa M. (May 30, 2000). "Mythological References in the work of Salvador Dalí: the myth of Leda". Centre for Dalinian Studies. Hora Nova. 
  2. ^ a b Elliott H. King - Dalí Atomicus, or the Prodigious Adventure of the Lacemaker and the Rhinoceros - Society for Literature and Science Annual Meeting October 10–13, 2002, Pasadena, California [1]
  3. ^ "And Now to Make Masterpieces - Time. December 8, 1947". Time.com. 1947-12-08. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  4. ^ Leda Atomica[dead link]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leda_Atomica — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
6138 videos foundNext > 

Year Long Disaster - Leda Atomica

Music video by Year Long Disaster performing Leda Atomica. (C) 2008 Volcom Entertainment.

Leda Atómica en vivo Il Amichi (Full)

Muchas gracias a Juan Perez (Siempre Hay Pánico) por la grabacion!.

Year Long Disaster - 02 - Leda Atomica

Year Long Disaster - 02 - Leda Atomica Alum: Year Long Disaster (2007) http://www.myspace.com/yearlongdisaster https://www.facebook.com/yearlongdisaster ...

Leda Atomica Live at Bouillon Marseillais June 2011

Leda Atomica gave a special performance for Le Bouiilon Marseillais June 18th 2011 in a wild open air place in a suburb from Marseille : it was a very big ...

Year Long Disaster - Leda Atomica (Live at Hooligans 06.17.07)

recorded in Jacksonville, NC at Hooligans on June 17th while on tour with Clutch.

Leda Atomica : Marseille bouche de vieille (Bizarre 1990, LAM, Marseille)

Léda Atomica Musique (LAM), fondé par Phil Spectrum, est issu du groupe rock marseillais Léda Atomica, dont il a été le co-fondateur. Après avoir écumé les ...

Leda Atomica

Year Long Disaster - Leda Atomica (Rockpalast 2008)

Year Long Disaster Rockpalast 2008.

Mostly Bears - Leda Atomica

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qrrr5UsQc4Mostly Bears - Leda Atomica.

Year Long Disaster Leda Atomica Lyrics

6138 videos foundNext > 

88 news items

Express Montcalm

Express Montcalm
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 09:16:39 -0700

«C'est certain qu'il faut aimer l'adrénaline, la compétition, avoir un petit côté cowboy et savoir mener intelligemment le cheval», a commenté la conductrice Geneviève Auger de Trois-Rivières après avoir remporté une course avec son cheval Leda Atomica.


Sat, 04 Jul 2015 07:15:00 -0700

Du coup en allant à l'Arthémuse pour la sortie de l'album de Hat Man Session j'ai prevu de m'y arrêter, d'autant que sont annoncés Leda Atomica et HK & les Saltimbanks ! Lorsque j'arrive à proximité du cours Julien je croise Marie Démon et deux autres ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Sat, 07 Mar 2015 06:15:00 -0800

Pictures can lie even at times when technology did not allow doctoring a photograph. To see how pictures can change the reality, and make the history, just take a look at before and after of an iconic photo taken by Elliott Erwitt unearthed in Magnum's ...


Fri, 27 Feb 2015 01:12:20 -0800

It also includes some of the most iconic portrait photographs of political figures, actors, artists and musicians of the 20th century: Philippe Halsman's 1948 photograph of his close friend Salvador Dali inspired by Dali's painting titled “Leda Atomica ...
Tucson Weekly
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 23:18:59 -0700

Surrealist Salvador Dali's painting "Leda Atomica" is the subject of Lopez' song by that name, which, although it first appeared on Mostly Bears' "Ed Mitchell Clinic," was one of just two songs Lopez reprised on "Ultra" from his Mostly Bears era. The ...

The Independent

The Independent
Tue, 21 Jan 2014 16:02:57 -0800

The collection runs from simple early pieces – The Girl From Figueres (1926) has its subject in front of the town's skyline – to Surrealist flashes – Leda Atomica (1949) depicts his wife Gala (his recurring muse) as Leda, the mythological Greek queen ...


Mon, 11 May 2015 15:57:15 -0700

El nombre final que se le dio a esta icónica fotografía fue Dalí Atomicus, el cual es la combinación entre el nombre del pintor y el título de la pintura que se observa en la foto Leda Atómica. Entre otros artistas que fotografió Philippe Halsman ...

Journal La Marseillaise

Journal La Marseillaise
Mon, 09 Feb 2015 04:27:46 -0800

Un spectacle performance assuré par Richard Martin sur des textes de Léo Ferré avec un accompagnement des Leda Atomica, suivi d'un débat dense autour de la situation du Journal, ponctué de témoignages et de marques d'intérêts diverses et variées ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight