Horse saddled with time

The story of the creation of the Horse saddled with Time sculpture, is an interesting one. Dalí used the image of the horse throughout his work, in fact the series of graphics’ Dalínian Horses (1972) are notable for their vivid use of color and strong vibrant images of horses.  

During the 1980s, Mr Beniamino Levi, President of the Dalí Universe, began discussing with Salvador Dalí the possibility of creating a sculpture of a horse.  Dalí created a wooden model of a horse and then created the maquette in wax, moulding it with his fingers. The hand markings where the wax is molded in the horse’s mane area, are visible in the cast bronze sculpture. This episode of working closely with Dali has marked Levi, he recounts it as one of the highlights of his experiences with the artist.  

In fact, Robert Descharnes in the catalogue raisonee of Dalí sculpture "The Hard and the Soft", describes the creative process which he witnessed first hand; "kneaded by the thumbs of the artist.... the small layers of wax gave birth to the horse. … Dalí molded the soft watch like a saddle… after five hours work… the model was ready to go the foundry." The sculpture in bronze, since being conceived and first cast in 1980, has proved to be a bestseller, possibly because it combines in one image all the elements that were important to Dalí; the watch -face saddle signifying time; and the smaller melted clock hanging beside the horse, again amplifying this inordinate theme of time and progress as well as the image of the horse as a surrealistic beast.


Dali's autobiography published in 1942, the artist stated "The mechanical object was to become my worst enemy, and as for watches, they would have to be soft, or not be at all!” Dali believed that humans cannot rely on the non-dreaming or "real" world to show the absolute truth.

This theme is evident in his sculpture Horse Saddled with Time. The horse, one of the most famous Dalinian images, is saddled with Dalinian time: it is time which controls of all of manics passage. Man believes he is in control of the voyage, but it is always the man who is the ultimate rider.

The famous melted watch is used in place of a normal saddle. This surrealist beast can not be ridden or tamed by man, only admired for its beauty and perpetuity. The horse is portrayed as the representation of life weighed down and harnessed by time, symbolic of mans fleeting voyage through life.




Dali museum