Angel of Alchemy by Salvador Dali

Designer VerificationNone

In alchemy, angels symbolize "volatile matter," or chemical substances that turn into vapor. Because the vapor rises, these substances are depicted as beings with wings, usually angels. Angels also sometimes represent the alchemist himself-a human who is more enlightened than most, and consequently superior like angels are in the celestial hierarchy.


Dalí used angels as a common motif in his works long before Alchimie des Philosophes. However, unlike The Angel of Alchemy, Dalí's other angels are depicted with grace and nobility. The Angel of Alchemy is frantic and chaotic, even terrifying. Many of Dalí's depictions of angels are fallen angels. Yet, they retain their naturalistic forms and obvious wings. The Angel of Alchemy has beady red eyes and a threatening presence indicated by Dalí's bold, scattered lines which resemble slashes. These black lines are interspersed with liquid gold ones, which contribute vibrancy and liberated energy to the composition. . The figure itself is rendered like a shadow, and the metallic splotches near its shoulders are the most solid part of its figure. Along the bottom of the print are small mythological creatures which inspire both fear and wonder. There is a swan-headed woman like in some of the other prints, who represents one of the alchemical stages.  Everything about the print exudes aggression and darkness.