The painting was one of the first of his to be seen in America and was first exhibited at Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, along with his other works. Currently, the painting is at the Philadelphia Museum of art. The painting was done on a wood panel using oil paint. Salvador Dali made a simple composition that depicts pieces of bread (four to be precise) sitting on a basket. The pieces of bread had butter on them. One of the pieces is separated from the rest and it is bitten. The basket sits on a plain white piece of cloth.
Looking further into the composition, one can notice how the basket (made of straw) is dramatically set against a dark background. Dali's composition is based on a Spanish still-life tradition, that a domestic scene has a spiritual meaning. He played with light in this composition, in a way that the colours of the objects appear saturated. The effect of this saturation would be a deep contemplation of the mysterious effect of light on the objects.
In order to understand Dali's true message, one must go back to the period of the painting's production. The painting had a deeper political message and how the bread is used in the painting expressed Dali's societal believes. The painting is also referred to as Rather Death than Shame which pointed out to an omen of destruction. In another context, bread was food that sustained many families, poor or not, and for this artist, it represented something valuable. Many works of Salvador Dali featured bread because he admired things that had hard shells with soft insides. Apart from being a surrealist, Salvador Dali was also a master of realism. The basket of bread is related to Galarina of 1945, which is a portrait of Gala, who Dali claimed had placed her arms as if holding a basket of bread.
Salvador Dali also employed detailed illusionism with dramatic lighting against an almost black background. This alludes to the influence of Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664) who was also a Spanish painter that used lemons, oranges, and a rose to produce a still-life painting in 1633.