Salvador Dali
"Giraffe on Fire"

Here it is possible to let the pupils choose their own interpretation and most often this leads to the best results.

Salvador Dali - "Giraffe on Fire"

Creative Painting with the Opaque Paint Box K 12

With this edition of Pelikan K 12 - the Original, we would like to present ideas and suggestions for the use of the Pelikan Opaque Paint Box in art lessons. The "Giraffe on Fire" by Salvador Dali takes centre stage. A copy of the original image can be found at:

Required materials:
K12 paint box, artist pad, paintbrush and the Pelikan material package.
Pupil Painting

Course of a lesson "Giraffe on Fire"

The teacher begins this lesson with an abstract and adaptable introduction.

Here it is possible to let the pupils choose their own interpretation and most often this leads to the best results. However support should be given where required.

  1. Download the material packet "Giraffe on Fire" and text from the Internet
  2. Using an overhead projector, show your pupils the first foil slide. This slide can be used later as a template or photocopied and passed around for painting on.
Foil slide 1 - starting point of the lesson
Foil slide 1a - alternative for painting
  1. Discuss this window with your pupils. You may find the following points helpful:
    1. What could be depicted in this painting?
    2. What colours can you identify and what meaning could they have?
    3. Could this window depict part of a landscape?
    4. Could this window depict a water world?
    5. Could this window depict a river scenery?
    6. Could this window merge into a beach scene?
    7. What does this window look like in reality?
    8. Can the window be divided up into different areas, e.g. light and dark, cold and warm, top and bottom?

    Make it clear to your pupils that you are discussing only part of a painting. The purpose of the exercise is to develop a scenario around this cut out.
    1. How could the window be continued?
    2. How could the window progress to the left, right, top and bottom?
    3. Which colours would you use?
    4. Are there elements missing?
  2. After the discussion, let the pupils paint their own picture.
  3. Finally, let each pupil give his picture a title. If they wish, the children can write a story about how the scene began and how it develops.

Possibilities of Differentiation

1. If your pupils are not able to build an adequate chain of association employ the following cut-outs. Make it clear to your pupils that these cut-outs contain the element shown in the initial window (black frame). Here again, only part of a picture is shown.

2. Give the pupils different patterns for painting (see slide foils 3-5) and pin the original on the blackboard or place on the overhead for the pupils to copy.

Tip: It is always important that the assignment is made perfectly clear to the pupils! Choose your own path for the lesson and combine with the preferred materials.


Description of the Foil Slides


Foils 3a - 3e:
All figures are shown as contours. The foils are ideal for differentiating as they allow for a wide choice
3a: complete group of figures;
3b: giraffe only;
3c: black giraffe;
3d: giraffe with flames
3e: finally, only the flames as pattern to be continued.


Foils 4 & 5:
Further variants for composing an individual lesson are offered with foils 4 & 5.
Foil 4: Note the black/white contrast of the figures to the background. Here the pupils should accept the figures and develop their own background. Foil 5 could also be pinned on the blackboard.
Foil 5: The light grey tone provides the background, additional colours could however be added. The pupils should compose the figures as they wish.


Foil 6:
The foil shows the main colours of the original picture. Discuss the use of these colours with your pupils.
What effects do these colours have (secretive mood etc.)?
What contrasts are made (e.g. small figure = light colour; large figure = dark colour)?



Pupils work as Display Material

From the flames by way of the giraffe to the finished picture.


Pupil Painting 1


Pupil Painting 2


Foil 5 serves as a pattern for the pupils. In our example, the pupils were not given a copy of the foil, they were requested to paint a giraffe according to their own ideas.

Our tip: Keep the pictures painted by your pupils in this lesson to use later as display material in later lessons.


Dalí - a Short Biography

Salvador Dali was born on 11th May 1904 in Figueras in North Spain as the son of a Notary. His elder brother who was also named Salvador had died 3 years before. Until the birth of his younger sister Ana Maria, Salvador is allowed to do as he pleases. He is strongly influenced by the upbringing of his father and the conservative society in which they live. Consequently, he strives towards security and order from an early age.

1918 - Dali is occupied with the development of his personality and expresses himself by letting his hair and whiskers grow long, and wearing loosely cut shirts.

1921 Dali visits the Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid. There he discovers a new life style and makes the acquaintance of Juan Gris, the founder of the Cubism Movement. One year later he rejects the Cubism influence and devotes himself to the School of Metaphysics, which explores the inner perception and experience.

As rioting begins in Catalonia in 1924 Dali is unjustly accused of being a ringleader and is expelled from the Academy. One year later, however, he returns and devotes himself to the writings of Sigmund Freud. In 1925 he visits Picasso during his first trip to Paris where Miro introduces him to André Breton, Paul Eluard and other Surrealists. Salvador then joins to Surrealist Group. Later that year, he is visited by Breton, Magritte and Paul Eluard and Gala, who was later to come his wife. Dali is inspired by Art Nouveau and the architecture of Antoni Gaudi and Giuseppe Arcimboldi.

According to the opinion of a number of the Surrealists, Dali shows admiration of Hitler in his London Exhibition in 1933. As a result he is excluded from the Group. In this year, Dali makes his first trip to America.

In 1935 Dali strongly criticises Abstract Art and one year on, participates in an international Surrealistic exhibition in London. There he makes friends with the English collector Edward James who is later to compile the most comprehensive Dali collection.

Until 1948 Dali lives in America and in 1942 he puts together a retrospective collection for the Museum of Modern Art which is exhibited in 8 states. Dali starts to paint portraits and works on Murals for the Helena Rubinstein House.

In 1948 he returns to Spain and devotes himself to Classicism. One year later he paints his first religious works. "The Madonna of Port Lligat" was even accepted by the Pope.

In 1964 Dali is bestowed one of the highest Spanish decorations, the Grand Order of Isabella the Catholic.

In 1964 he holds an important exhibition in Tokyo and publishes his book "Diary of a Genius". He also works on illustrations for the Bible.

In 1973 the Dali Museum is opened in his birthplace, Figureas and Dali publishes his book "The Secret Life of Salvador Dali".

In 1982 he is appointed to the Marquess of Publo. In this year he wife Gala dies.

By 1983 Dali is living in solitude in his castle in Publo and in this year he paints his last painting "The Swallow's Tail".

Because of an illness of the salivary gland he receives total parenteral nutrition for over 5 years and his general state of health is very poor. He dies on 23rd January 1989 in Figueras, the place of his birth.