Listening to Art

02.11: Salvador Dalí, Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach

Download (MP3).

Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume two, number eleven: Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach by Salvador Dalí.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach dates from 1938. To introduce it I will read the first three paragraphs from Dalí’s The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí, published in 1942 (p. 9).

Fortunately I am not one of those beings who when they smile are apt to expose remnants, however small, of horrible and degrading spinach clinging to their teeth. This is not because I brush my teeth better than others; it is due to the much more categorical fact that I do not eat spinach. It so happens that I attach to spinach, as to everything more or less directly pertaining to food, essential values of a moral and esthetic order. And of course the sentinel of disgust is ever on hand, vigilant and full of severe solicitude, ceremoniously attentive to the exacting choice of my foods.

I like to eat only things with well-defined shapes that the intelligence can grasp. I detest spinach because of its utterly amorphous character, so much so that I am firmly convinced, and do not hesitate for a moment to maintain, that the only good, noble and edible thing to be found in that sordid nourishment is the sand.

The very opposite of spinach is armor. That is why I like to eat armor so much, and especially the small varieties, namely, all shell-fish. By virtue of their armor, which is what their exoskeleton actually is, these are a material realization of the highly original and intelligent idea of wearing one’s bones on the outside rather than the inside, as is the usual practice.

This is a painting, oil on canvas, 143.8 cm wide by 114.3 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach by Salvador Dalí, recorded at the Royal Academy of Arts, in London, England, on 21 December 2017.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach by Salvador Dalí. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit

Listening to Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Dalí, Salvador. The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí. Translated by Haakon M. Chevalier. New York: Dover, 1993.

Wadsworth Atheneum. “Salvador Dali, Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach.” Wadsworth Atheneum.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Salvador Dalí,”í.