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Salvador Dali The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, c.1959

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"The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus" was done on a huge canvas, over 14 feet tall and over 9 feet wide, one in a series of large paintings Dalí did during this era. Three major influences (other than Gala, who was ALWAYS Dali's chief muse) inspired Dali to create this Masterwork. The first of these was the appraching 300th anniversary of the death of Velazques, who was very important to Dali. The second was that there was considerable academic debate at the time regarding the true nationality of Columbus. Some were asserting that Columbus had been Catalonian rather than Italian, and Dali seized upon this opportunity to further glorify his wondrous Catalonia. FInally, the gallery which commissioned Dali to paint this work, the Huntington Hartford Gallery, was situated on Columbus Circle in New York City. The combination of these 3 things was enough to inspire Dali to wondrous heights of creativity. For a time, this painting hung in the Gallery of Modern Art at Columbus Circle in a space created especially for its impressive size. It now hangs in the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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