Musings After the Dali Museum
I took a little time away from the conference to visit the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fl. It’s an impressive museum, and worth seeing.
One of the strongest impressions I got from the experience was that of Dali’s sheer technical skill. From paintings that he made as a child (as young as 9), his monumental skill is apparent. But as he ages, and even as a famous artist, where he could likely get away with producing junk, his attention to both concept and detail shines through.
I tried to take a detail picture of “The Broken Bridge and The Dream,” (below) because it illustrates this so well. (This was made harder by the “No photographs” policy and the wandering guards, as well as my understanding that flash photography can both damage a painting and draw the attention of the aforementioned guards.) So I took my camera into the bathroom to adjust it. I turned off the flash and the pre-flash focus beams, then put it back in my pocket, turning all that on again. Fortunately, it has a little orange LED that went off before the pre-focus beams or the flash, so I took a rotten picture of my feet.)
Had some anonymous photographer made off with that shot, this blog post might be illustrated with a detail shot, which would show the angels going most of the way across the picture. They’re only visible from a few feet away; they’re drawn with a few flicks of paint a few shades lighter than the background.
That attention to detail, the willingness to spend time on things that most people never notice, also distinguishes a set of security researchers whose attention to detail in analysis allows them to remember and compose bits all across a system, and see where flaws emerge.
But very few of those experts can also conceptualize or construct new systems, whereas Dali (as shown above) was able to compose, to use the woman’s hair as one of Lincoln’s eyes; to use Leon Harmon’s pixelated Lincoln within his own version of the picture is simply sublime.
Lastly, I’ll comment that both pictures are clickable: Lincoln takes you to a larger image of the picture, while the Broken Bridge takes you to Google’s Image search page. It’s astounding how much the various pictures of that painting differ, and none capture the blueness of the background as it appeared under the lights the museum had in place yesterday.