“Let us agree,” Federico García Lorca wrote, “that one of man’s most beautiful postures is that of St. Sebastian.”
“In my ‘Saint Sebastian’ I remember you,” Salvador Dali replied to García Lorca, referring to the essay on aesthetics that Dalí had just written, “. . . and sometimes I think he is you. Let’s see whether Saint Sebastian turns out to be you.”
This exchange is but a glimpse into the complex relationship between two renowned and highly influential twentieth-century artists. On the centennial of Dalí’s birth, Sebastian’s Arrows presents a never-before-published collection of their letters, lectures, and mementos.
Written between 1925 and 1936, the letters and lectures bring to life a passionate friendship marked by a thoughtful dialogue on aesthetics and the constant interaction between poetry and painting. From their student days in Madrid’s Residencia de Estudiantes, where the two waged war against cultural “putrefaction” and mocked the sacred cows of Spanish art, Dalí and García Lorca exchanged thoughts on the act of creation, modernity, and the meaning of their art. The volume chronicles how in their poetic skirmishes they sharpened and shaped each other’s work—García Lorca defending his verses of absence and elegy and his love of tradition while Dalí argued for his theories of “Clarity” and “Holy Objectivity” and the unsettling logic of Surrealism.
Christopher Maurer’s masterful prologue and selection of letters, texts, and images (many generously provided by the Fundacion Gala-Salvador Dalí and Fundacion Federico García Lorca), offer compelling and intimate insights into the lives and work of two iconic artists. The two men had a “tragic, passionate relationship,” Dalí once wrote—a friendship pierced by the arrows of Saint Sebastian.