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El Toro Blanco y Amenazante (Translated: The White And Menacing Bull) 
by Anne Faith Nicholls
Oil on canvas, 48" x 36" 


Inspired by the Surrealist masters, namely Salvador Dali, this is a symbolic surrealistic painting directly referencing Salvador Dali's description of an artist's virgin canvas as a "great white and menacing bull", as translated in the artist's 1940's book titled 50 Secrets of Magical Craftsmanship. The artist Dali made several references to the specific challenges an artist faces at the very beginning of painting. The symbolic figures and their interaction with one another can be paralleled with man's approach to taking on all his (or her) challenges with courage, honesty and vulnerability. The white bull not only represents a blank canvas, but also may represent bleak obstacles or imposing forces. The diminutive woman, standing naked, leading the giant by a ring through his nose and a loose rope, appears both confident and vulnerable, with one foot off the ground suggesting forward movement. The stage and curtains represent the stress of placing a final product (or finished canvas in the artists' sake) on display for all to see and judge. The stage-like composition could even represent an art gallery in this case, or any venue an artist may use to show his or her work. The curtains' distinct chartreuse green color represents money exchanged at cattle auctions, or in this case, symbolically, the monitory value placed on works of art for sale.  The spanish words on the top of the peice are a direct quote from Salvador Dali, in his native tounge, as translated in his 1940's book titled 50 Secrets of Magical Thinking. The roses symbolize praise for honesty and showmanship, traits all artists must possess in their works to succeed, according to Dali.