The full name of Salvador Dali was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech, 1st Marquis of Pubol. Dali was born on May 11, 1904, in the town of Figueres, near the Costa Brava, at a few Kilometers from Barcelona, Spain.
The Dali Museum is located in the same town, and is a must see in any Barcelona Sightseeing tour.
He is one of the most famous and best known Surrealist painters of the last century. His paintings are easily recognizable because of their unique symbols and realistic quality. He was also known because of his eccentricities and his controversial personality.
Nevertheless, Salvador Dali is considered one of the greatest Surrealist Artist of the modern times.
“The only difference between myself and a madman is that I am not mad.”
His father, also named Salvador Dali, was a high middle-class notary. But was his mother Felipa who influenced and supported his son towards the Art. The family had a summer house at the village of Cadaques, where he had his first studio.
Dali took his first steps in art at the drawing school, when he was ten years old. One of his professors was the known painter Ramon Pichot. In 1917 his father organized an exhibition of his artworks at the family´s house, and his first public exhibition was held in Figueres in 1919.
At the age of sixteen, he suffered the lost of his mother. This event influenced him strongly. Then he entered to the Royal Academy of San Fernando, in Madrid, the main art school in Spain.
But, he already started to show some characteristics of his personality. He was expelled a couple of times from the Academy because of indiscipline. He also refused to be examined, by arguing that he was better prepared than the examiners.
The controversial Dali had begun...
He was soon recognized as a talent. A demonstration of it, is his first one-man show that he held in Barcelona in 1925, where he exhibited several paintings. It is very feasible that he was influenced by Freud, because he liked to read about the philosopher. His friendship with Federico Garcia Lorca may have also influenced the young Dali.
The first paintings of Salvador Dali show a clear influence of the Cubism movement. From his times of styles´ experiments, we can appreciate the realism of the famous Basket of Bread, which was painted in 1926. This is one of the paintings that made Dali internationally known, because of an exhibition in Pittsburg in 1928.
In 1929, Dali held his first one-man show in Paris. There, he met other Spanish painters, like Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. He made several works influenced by both painters, until he developed his own methods. Dali also joined the surrealists, who were guided by Andre Breton.
Breton influenced Dali as to find his own method over the next few years. Dali had two methods for creating art: the oniric-critical method, by painting the interpretation of his dreams, and the paranoiac-critical method, which is defined as the science of painting to study the psyche through subconscious art. Complicated? Yes, you are right...
In spite of any complicated definition, his paintings are a gift for your eyes. And this, anyone will understand it.
The works of Salvador Dali were influenced by his personality, experiences and events along his life. Dali had a friendship with the surrealist film director Luis Buñuel, and helped him by writing the script for one of his films.
An important event in the life of Salvador Dali occurred soon, in 1929. He met Mrs. Gala Eluard and her husband at his residence in Cadaques. Do you imagine what happened? Cupid´s arrow hit Dali and Gala. She became his lover, inspiration, model, muse and business manager. This was a very important event in his life, which influenced him deeply.
From those years, Dali became a leader in the Surrealist Movement. One of the most important works is his painting The Persistence of Memory, also known as “The Melting Clocks”, which was painted in 1931.
In 1933, he held his first one-man show in New York, and in 1934 he visited the U.S., introduced by the art dealer Juan Levy. His behavior in some social events, converted him in a famous and controversial person. He also supported Francisco Franco and the Spanish Civil War. These facts altogether, caused his expulsion of the Surrealist group.
Between 1938 and 1940, Dali changed his style from Surrealism to Classicism, based on religion thoughts, science and history. Dali created a good number of paintings during this period.
Some of the well known artworks from this time are The Hallucinogenic Toreador, The Sacrament of the Last Supper, and The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. In 1940, during the World War II, Dali and Gala moved to the U.S. to evade the war. They were living there for about eight years.
Dali held a number of exhibitions and soon became appreciated by the U.S. high society, where he developed some relationships with mode designers and Hollywood directors. He was also an active writer. Dali wrote some film scripts, novels and catalogs.
In 1942, he published his autobiography, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. In 1948, Dali and Gala returned to their residence in Lligat, Spain.
His change in style after the World War II, is clearly seen on the paintings of this period. The interest of Dali in optical illusion and religion, are manifested on his artworks.
However, his talent was not limited to paintings. Salvador Dali was a sculptor, and also contributed with a variety of objects to fashion and other areas.
Salvador Dali was almost always changing from painting to sculpture works. He created many objects and also some very nice pieces of jewels that were crafted by using gold, diamonds, emeralds, rubies. You can delight your eyes with these art pieces, among other creations, in the Dali Museum in Figueres.
Dali was also very active by creating several works in other areas, like in the fashion world, films and photography. He wrote film scripts for Luis Buñuel and worked with Walt Disney and Alfed Hitchcock.
During the 70´s he started to work at the Municipal Theatre of Figueres, the town where he was born. This building held his first public exhibition when he was seventeen years old. He begun to transform the theatre in a museum and art gallery. Dali was working in this project until 1974, when the building was officially opened as the Dali Museum.
In the 80´s he could not do anything else because of a Parkinson-like illness. His wife Gala, died in 1982 and this event affected him very deeply. In 1984 he moved to his castle of Pubol, which he had bought for Gala. He tried suicide a couple of times, without success. In 1986 he suffered of heart failure and received the implant of a pacemaker.
The last years of his life, Dali was almost isolated. He moved to his apartment in the Galatea Tower, adjacent to his Museum. The life of Salvador Dali arrived to end there, because of heart failure, on January 23, 1989, at the age of 84.
Visit the Dali Museum and delight your eyes with the artworks of the Master.
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