Lewin has the bold and clever idea to open a competition to ten artists on the theme of St. Anthony with the goal to use the winning artwork within the film. Duchamp is a member of the jury. Max Ernst wins with a Gothic work that well matches the popular imagination on diableries. Dali performs one of his most celebrated pictures, dated 1946.
Leonora Carrington is among the ten invited artists, probably due to her pre-war affair with Max Ernst. Aged 28, she is not yet known to the public. The theme excites her imagination exacerbated by wartime psychiatric difficulties.
The oil on canvas painted by Carrington, 122 x 91 cm, dated 1945, is estimated $ 1.8M, for sale on November 24 by Sotheby's in New York, lot 17.
Leonora enjoyed to include all the symbols of the legend along with introducing new elements. The three pale heads of the saint emerge gradually out of the too white cloak which looks like the shrouds of Blake's ghosts. A young woman is preparing delicious foods. A witch is playing the trumpet in the middle of a spider net shaped blanket held by the sins. The disproportion of the figures will remain a major feature in her personal vision of surrealism.
The artist used to reply complacently to the questions on the interpretation of her works. When asked why the holy man has three heads, she replied: why not?