About this artwork
Among Salvador Dalí’s many memorable works, perhaps none is more deeply embedded in the popular imagination than Venus de Milo with Drawers, a half-size plaster reproduction of the famous marble statue (130 /120 BC; Musée du Louvre, Paris), altered with pompon-decorated drawers in the figure’s forehead, breasts, stomach, abdomen, and left knee. The combination of cool painted plaster and silky mink tufts illustrates the Surrealist interest in uniting different elements to spark a new reality. For the Surrealists, the best means of provoking this revolution of consciousness was a special kind of sculpture that, as Dalí explained in a 1931 essay, was “absolutely useless … and created wholly for the purpose of materializing in a fetishistic way, with maximum tangible reality, ideas and fantasies of a delirious character.” Dalí’s essay, which drew upon the ideas of Marcel Duchamp’s readymades, inaugurated object making as an integral part of Surrealist activities.
Influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud, Dalì envisioned the idea of a cabinet transformed into a female figure, which he called an “anthropomorphic cabinet.” Venus de Milo with Drawers is the culmination of his explorations into the deep, psychological mysteries of sexual desire, which are symbolized in the figure of the ancient goddess of love.
- Salvador Dalí
- Venus de Milo with Drawers
- Made 1936
- Painted plaster with metal pulls and mink pompons
- 98 × 32.5 × 34 cm (38 5/8 × 12 3/4 × 13 3/8 in.)
- Through prior gift of Mrs. Gilbert W. Chapman
- © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, 2018