Salvador Dalì: biography and works of an eccentric and “surreal” artist

Salvador Dalì demonstrates from an early age, when he believes he is the reincarnation of his dead brother, and for the whole course of his life, when he presents himself dressed in a diving suit and helmet or with two Russian greyhounds on a leash, an extremely bizarre figure.

Even his art reflects his eccentricity: inspired by the theories of Freudian psychoanalysis , Dalì seeks a higher level of creativity by exploring the delusions of his subconscious and transporting them into reality through the images and symbols of his paintings. He is an eclectic artistand versatile, he is interested in natural sciences, mathematics, cinema, photography and many other disciplines. His character and his art were so disruptive that their influence is still felt today in the contemporary world .

The life of Salvador Dalì: the experience in Madrid and the move to Paris

Salvador Dalì , born Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born in 1904 in Figure , Catalonia. From a young age, he was encouraged, especially by his mother, to follow the artistic vein of him. So he attended an art school and, later, in 1922, the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid . In the years of the Academy, Dali attracted attention for his eccentric way of dressing, but above all for his cubist-style paintings. He also approached Dadaism , which influenced him deeply, and befriended the Bello writers ,Buñuel, and García Lorca . After claiming that no one in the Academy was competent enough to judge his art, he was expelled in 1926 . In that same year he went to Paris for the first time, where he met Pablo Picasso , from whom Dalì was influenced: this is demonstrated by the Cubist Figure (1926) and Neo-Cubist Academy (1926) works. The interest of the critics , divided between enthusiasm and perplexity, began to arouse.

Salvador Dalì and Surrealism: success in America

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In 1929 Dalì collaborated with Buñuel , a surrealist director for the short film Un chien andalou . Here he met Gala Eluard , future wife and muse . In the same year, thanks to Miro , Dalì officially became part of the group of Montparnasse surrealists . However, the Spanish artist’s Surrealism was very personal , inspired by De Chirico , Freud’s concepts of psychoanalysis and characterized by what Dali himself called the paranoid-critical method, with which he was able to reach a greater level of creativity through the exploration of the subconscious .

In 1931 he painted one of his most famous works: The Persistence of Memory which aroused much sensation and interest among New York art gallery goers , especially in Julian Levy, a famous art dealer.

During World War II , Salvador and Gala moved to Pebble Beach in California. Those Americans are prolific years: Dalì published his autobiography The Secret Life of Salvador Dali , started a collaboration with photographer Philippe Halsman , painted portraits of wealthy Americans for the Knoedler Gallery , exhibited with a solo show at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Bignou Gallery from New York.

Salvador Dalì: the return to Spain and death

Salvador Dali

From 1951 Dali and his wife returned to Spain to settle permanently in Port Lligat .

At that time the artist experimented with new artistic and communication techniques : he created canvases in which the ink was thrown randomly, he used holographs , he became interested in natural sciences by painting works in which the subjects were composed of rhino horns , which according to Dalì represented divine geometry , and was fascinated by the hypercube (a four-dimensional cube), clearly visible in his painting Crucifixion (1954). In 1960, in Figueres , his native town, he began working on the project of his Dalì Theater-Museumwhich continued until 1974.

After Gala’s death in 1982 , the Spanish artist returned to his hometown, where he died of a heart attack in 1989 , while listening to his favorite record Tristan and Isolde by Wagner . He was buried in his he Theater-Museum in Figueres.

Salvador Dalì: works and symbolism

Salvador Dali

Salvador Dalì, throughout his career the artist painted more than 1500 paintings , created illustrations for books, lithographs , sets and theatrical costumes , sculptures , and was also interested in fashion , photography and cinema .

A distinctive feature of Dali’s art is Symbolism : his figures and images went beyond their apparent meaning , towards abstract concepts. Among the most well-known symbols is the “soft clock” in the painting The persistence of memory. During a summer day, the artist saw a piece of cheese melt: the clock becomes the symbol of the relativity of time , treated in Einstein ‘s theories .

Another very common symbol in Dali’s works is the egg which is linked to prenatal images and the intrauterine universe and symbolizes hope and love . The figure appears in works such as The Great Masturbator (1929) and The Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937).

Dali ‘s works of nuclear mysticism

Salvador Dalì describes with the term “nuclear mysticism” the phase following the events in Hiroshima and the explosion of the atomic bomb, in which he is very interested in the Catholic religion. In those years he created works such as The Madonna of Port-Lligat (1949) and Crucifixion (1954) in which the artist represents Christian iconography through images of material disintegration inspired by nuclear physics. In Salvador Dalì’s Last Supper (1955), the artist depicts the face of Jesus as that of his wife Gala. Characteristic that clearly describes the artist’s aim to overturn traditional religious iconography .

The influence of Dalì in the world of contemporary art

The multifaceted and eccentric figure of Salvador Dalì and his art full of surreal symbols and images is still today an inspiration in many areas of contemporary art , from cinema to architecture. The television series “La Casa di Carta “, which has become a cult in recent years, has brought back the image of the artist with his iconic upturned mustache, which has become viral on social networks, which the protagonists wear as a mask. In the architectural field, the villa Casa Ter , located in the eastern tip of Catalonia, clearly refers to those landscapes that populate surrealist paintingsby Salvador Dalì: the sunny expanses, the fields and the sea.