Goethe’s “Faust” is one of the most well-known narratives in history. “Faust” is based on a real- life astrologer and alchemist in northern Germany in the fifteenth century. The story of Doctor Faust, a man who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for power and knowledge in life, is a cautionary tale, warning of the dangers of pride, greed, the devil on earth, witchcraft and many other interpretations of the evils that man faces daily. Faust has struck a chord with generation after generation, and is an allegory used time and time again. Dalí’s suite entitled Faust, is his interpretation, just one of hundreds of artists, authors and directors to have portrayed their own version of the story of Doctor Faust.
In the “Walpurgis Night,” brilliantly illustrated by Dalí, the various scenes appear within a magic circle, in a chiaroscuro whose acme is most likely the stunning portrait of “Faust Reading,” evocative of Rembrandt’s etchings. Alchemical signs, formed by Dalí’s inverted signature, add an esoteric dimension to this exceptional interpretation of Goethe’s “Faust.”