Aside from melted watches, noted Surrealist painter, Salvador Dali obsessed over elaborately-detailed elephants in a cross section of his most famous canvases, which spilled over and was borrowed from for this, his ‘Space Elephant’ bronze sculpture, defined in a blue patina and initially conceived in plaster in 1980.
At 94cm in height, ‘Space Elephant’ was Dali’s creative response to a film studio commissioning him and 10 fellow leading contemporary artists of the then day (1946) to originate a painting based on ‘The Temptations of St Anthony’. It’s fair to say that a brief such as this was something Dali could get his teeth into, and as you observe here in his specific contribution Dali channelled his energies into an elephant, as found in the Egyptian desert, carrying an obelisk.
The obelisk being symbolic of power and domination, both temptations of which Dali reckoned St Anthony would have been prone to. On canvas, Dali painted these earlthy temptations as a procession led by a rearing horse (a phallic symbol of the mastery of one person over another), ahead of a total of four elephants standing atop almost invisible spidery legs, representing the other temptations of desire; namely art, beauty, erotic pleasures and knowledge.