Salvador Dali, “Sacrament of the Last Supper” (1955)

The fifth element: Salvador Dali, "Sacrament of the Last Supper" (1955)

Earth, air, water and fire were, according to Platonic philosophy, the four basic elements of which everything in the universe is composed. Plato assigned to each of those, on a rather intuitive basis, a regular solid: the sharp tetrahedron for the fire; the spinning octahedron for the air; the stable cube for the earth; and the rolling icosahedron for the water. Plato thought of the fifth possible regular solid, the dodecahedron, as what “…God used for arranging the constellations on the whole heaven” (Timaeus 55), a geometric solid representing the universe. In the “Sacrament of the Last Supper”, Salvador Dali positions the final meal of Jesus and the Apostles inside a room shaped as a dodecahedron, possibly to signify the cosmic proportions of the event.


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