In 1954, Salvador Dalí sat down in front of Vermeer’s painting <em>The Lacemaker</em> (1669–70) at the Louvre promising his audience of conservators and art historians that he would produce a copy of the masterpiece in one hour. Instead, Dalí emerged with a painting showing four intersecting rhinoceros horns. Apparently mystified by his own work, Dalí told his audience ‘The lacemaker is morphologically the horn of a rhinoceros.’<sup>1</sup><br><br>Dalí claimed to have deconstructed <em>The Lacemaker</em> into rhinoceros horns by tracing the logarithmic spirals in the painting (that presumably appeared to his surrealist eye).<br><br><em>The Lacemaker</em> is the most elaborate manifestation of Dalí’s rhinoceros obsession. In subsequent works, the rhinoceros horn is a symbol of chastity, strength and virility. In the <em>Rhinocerotic Figure of Phidias's Illisos</em> (1954), Dalí again reimagines a famous work with his own cosmic interpretation. The classical Greek torso fractures into rhinoceros horns above a weightless seascape, revealing its composition as it dissolves. In sculpture, Dalí’s bronze <em>Cosmic Rhinoceros</em> (1956) is a creature similar to its real-life counterpart, but with long spidery legs, balancing sea urchins on its back.<br><br>A year after the Louvre incident, Dalí perched on the edge of a wheelbarrow in the rhinoceros enclosure of Paris’s Vincennes Zoo to finish <em>The Lacemaker (After Vermeer)</em>. As he began to paint, assistants lowered a large replica of <em>The Lacemaker</em> into the enclosure, tempting François the rhinoceros to charge the painting. François failed to indulge Dalí, who resorted to piercing the work himself with a Narwhal’s tusk.<br><br>The artistic merit of this episode is unclear. However, it provides an insight into the elaborate lengths to which Dalí would go in the name of art.