Salvador Dalí Art, Bio, Ideas | TheArtStory

Salvador dali early life

summary of salvador dali

salvador dalí is one of the most versatile and prolific artists of the 20th century and the most famous surrealist. Although he is mainly remembered for his pictorial production, in the course of his long career he successfully dedicated himself to sculpture, printmaking, fashion, advertising, writing and, perhaps most famously, to cinema in his collaborations with Luis Bunuel and Alfred Hitchcock. Dalí was known as much for his flamboyant personality and mischievous provocative role as he was for his undeniable technical virtuosity. In his early use of organic morphology, his work bears the hallmarks of his compatriots Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró. His paintings also display a fascination with classical and Renaissance art, clearly visible through his hyper-realistic style and the religious symbolism of his later work.


  • Freudian theory supports Dalí’s attempts to forge a visual language capable of capturing his dreams and hallucinations. These represent some of the iconic and now ubiquitous images through which Dalí achieved tremendous fame during his lifetime and beyond.
  • Haunting themes of eroticism, death and decadence permeate Dalí’s work, reflecting his familiarity with and synthesis of the psychoanalytic theories of his time. Drawing on unabashedly autobiographical material and childhood memories, Dalí’s work is riddled with often-interpreted symbolism, ranging from fetishes and animal imagery to religious symbols.
  • dalí subscribed to surrealist andré breton’s theory of automatism, but ultimately opted for his own self-created system to tap into the unconscious called “paranoid critic”, a state in which one can simulate delusion while maintaining one Sanity. Paradoxically defined by Dalí himself as a form of “irrational knowledge”, this method was applied by his contemporaries, mostly Surrealists, to various media, from film to poetry to fashion.
  • the life of salvador dali

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    biography of salvador dali


    Dalí was born in Figueres, a small town on the outskirts of Barcelona, ​​​​into a prosperous middle-class family. the family suffered a lot before the artist’s birth, because his first child (also called savior) died quickly. The young artist was often told that he is the reincarnation of his dead brother, an idea that surely planted several ideas in the impressionable boy. His larger than life personality blossomed early along with his interest in art. it is claimed that he has manifested random, hysterical and angry outbursts towards his family and playmates.

    From a very young age, Dalí found much inspiration in the Catalan surroundings of his childhood, and many of his landscapes would become recurring motifs in his later key paintings. His father, his lawyer, and his mother greatly nurtured his early interest in art. He had his first drawing lessons at the age of 10 and in his teens he enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Madrid, where he experimented with the Impressionist and Pointillist styles. When he was just 16 years old, Dalí lost his mother to breast cancer, which he said was “the biggest blow I had ever experienced in my life.” when he was 19 years old, his father organized a solo exhibition of the young artist. ‘s technically exquisite charcoal drawings on the family home.

    early training

    In 1922 Dalí enrolled in the San Fernando de Madrid Special School of Painting, Sculpture and Engraving, where he lived in the student residence. Dalí came of age there and began to confidently inhabit his flamboyant and provocative persona. his eccentricity was notorious and originally more renowned than his artwork. she kept her hair long and dressed in the style of 19th-century English aesthetes, in knee-length breeches that earned her the title of dandy. artistically, he experimented with many different styles at the time, dabbling in what aroused his voracious curiosity. She was associated with and approached a group of prominent artistic personalities that included the filmmaker Luis Buñuel and the poet Federico García Lorca. The residence itself was very progressive and exposed Dalí to the greatest minds of the time, such as Le Corbusier, Einstein, Calder and Stravinsky. Ultimately, however, Dalí was expelled from the academy in 1926 for insulting one of his teachers during his final exam before graduation.

    After leaving school, Dalí was inactive for several months. he then took a trip to paris that changed his life. he visited pablo picasso in his studio and was inspired by what the cubists did. he became very interested in futurist attempts to recreate movement and show objects from multiple simultaneous angles. he began to study the psychoanalytic concepts of freud, as well as metaphysical painters such as giorgio de chirico and surrealists such as joan miro, and consequently began to use psychoanalytic methods of extracting the subconscious to generate images. Over the course of the next year, Dalí would explore these concepts as he worked to consider a means of dramatically reinterpreting reality and altering perception. His first serious work in this style was apparatus and hand (1927), which contained the symbolic images and dreamscape that would become Dalí’s inimitable pictorial signature.

    period of maturity

    in 1928, dalí teamed up with filmmaker luis buñuel on un chien andalou (an andalusian dog), a filmic meditation on abject obsessions and irrational images. The film’s subject matter was so sexually and politically shocking that Dalí became infamous, causing quite a stir among Parisian surrealists. The Surrealists considered recruiting Dalí into his circle and, in 1929, they sent Paul Eluard and his wife Gala de Dalí, along with René Magritte and his wife Georgette, to visit Dalí in Cadaqués. This was the first time Dalí and Gala had met and shortly thereafter the two began having an affair that ultimately resulted in her and Eluard’s divorce. Born in Russia as Elena Dmitrievna Diakona, Gala became Dalí’s most important and lifelong constant muse, as well as his future wife, his greatest passion and his business manager. shortly after this original meeting, dalí moved to paris and was invited by andré breton to join the surrealists.

    dalí attributed to breton’s theory of automatism, in which an artist stifles conscious control over the creative process by allowing the unconscious mind and intuition to guide the work. However, in the early 1930s, Dalí took this concept a step further by creating his own paranoid critical method, in which an artist could access their subconscious through systematic irrational thinking and a self-induced paranoid state. . After coming out of a paranoid state, Dalí created “hand-painted dream photographs” from what he had witnessed, often culminating in works of highly realistically painted but largely unrelated objects (sometimes referred to as enhanced by optical illusion techniques). he believed that viewers would find an intuitive connection to his work because the subconscious language was universal, and that, “it speaks with the vocabulary of the great vital signs, sexual instinct, feeling of death, physical notion of the enigma of space – these the constants vital are universally repeated in every human being”. He would use this method all his life, most famously seen in paintings such as The Persistence of Memory (1931) and Soft Construction with Cooked Beans (a premonition of civil war ) (1936).

    over the next several years, dali’s paintings were remarkably illustrative of his theories on the psychological state of paranoia and its importance as a subject matter. he painted bodies, bones, and symbolic objects that reflected sexualized fears of father figures and impotence, as well as symbols that referred to anguish over time. Many of Dalí’s most famous paintings belong to this highly creative period.

    While his career was on the rise, Dalí’s personal life was changing. Although he was inspired and in love with gala, his father was less than enthusiastic about this relationship with a woman ten years older than his son. His initial encouragement to his son’s artistic development was waning as Dalí moved more toward the avant-garde. The straw that broke the camel’s back came when a Barcelona newspaper quoted Dalí as saying: “Sometimes, I spit on my mother’s portrait for fun.” the elderly dalí expelled his son from the family home at the end of 1929.

    the politics of war was at the forefront of surrealist debates and in 1934 breton removed dali from the surrealist group due to their differing views on communism, fascism and general franco. Responding to this expulsion, Dalí responded with the famous phrase “I myself am Surrealism”. For many years Breton, and some members of the Surrealists, would have a tumultuous relationship with Dalí, sometimes honoring the artist and other times disassociating himself from him. and yet other artists associated with surrealism became friends with dalí and continued to be close to him throughout the years.

    In subsequent years, Dalí traveled extensively and practiced more traditional painting styles that were inspired by his love of canonized painters such as Gustave Courbet and Jan Vermeer, though his emotionally charged subjects and subjects remained as bizarre as ever. his fame had grown so much that the rich, the famous and the elegant sought him out. In 1938, Coco Chanel invited Dalí to his home, “La Pausa”, on the French Riviera, where he painted extensively, creating works that were later exhibited at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. but without a doubt, dali’s true magical moment came that year when he met his hero, sigmund freud. After painting his portrait, Dalí was thrilled to learn that Freud had said, “Until now, I had been led to consider the Surrealists completely insane, whom I believe I had adopted as my patron saint. This young Spaniard with his candid, fanatical eyes and his undeniable technical mastery has changed my mind.”

    Around this time, Dalí also met an important patron, the wealthy British poet Sir Edward James. James not only bought Dalí’s work, but also supported him financially for two years and collaborated on some of Dalí’s most famous pieces, including The Lobster Telephone (1936) and mae west lip sofa (1937) – both decorated james’ house in sussex, england.

    dalí and gala in the united states

    dalí had a presence in the united states even before his first visit to the country. art dealer julien levy organized an exhibition of dali’s work in new york in 1934, which included the persistence of memory. the exhibition was incredibly well received, making dalí a sensation. She first visited the United States in the mid-1930s and continued to stir the waters wherever she went, often staging deliberate public appearances and interactions, which were in essence early examples of her love of acting. On one such occasion, he and Gala went to a masquerade ball in New York dressed as the Lindbergh baby and his kidnapper. This caused such a scandal that Dalí even apologized to the press, an action that drew the contempt of the Surrealists in Paris.

    dalí also participated in other surrealist events while in new york. she appeared in the first exhibition on fantastic art, dada, surrealism at the museum of modern art. He also had a great scene at a screening of Joseph Cornell’s Surrealist films when he knocked over the projector and famously said, “My idea for a movie is exactly that, and I was going to pitch it to someone who would pay to have it done. I never wrote it down or told anyone, but it’s like I stole it.”

    After the devastation of World War II in Europe, Dalí and Gala returned to the United States in 1940. They would remain for eight years, dividing their time between New York and California. During this period, Dalí became highly productive, expanding his practice beyond the visual arts into a wide range of other creative interests. he designed jewelry, clothing, furniture, sets for plays and ballets, and even window displays for retail stores. Dalí’s eccentric personality often took center stage in many of these activities; For example, while he was being consigned by the department store cashier, Dalí was so angered by the changes in his artistic vision that he pushed a bathtub through the window.

    dalí (and gala) wanted to become stars and earn a lot of money, so hollywood was a natural destination for the couple. They were unsuccessful in their quest for movie celebrity, but famed director Alfred Hitchcock asked Dalí to create the dream sequence in his thriller Spellbound (1945). In addition, Walt Disney cooperated with Dalí to create the animated cartoon Destiny, but the project was put on hold due to financial difficulties after World War II and was not completed until much later (2003).

    return to port lligat

    after being thrown out of the family home in 1929, dalí bought a small house by the sea in the nearby fishing village of port lligat. he eventually bought all the houses around him, transforming his property into a large villa. Gala and Dalí returned to Port Lligat in 1948, making it their base of operations for the next three decades.

    dalí’s art continued to evolve. In addition to exploring different artistic mediums, Dalí also began to use optical illusions, negative space, visual puns, and trompe l’oeil in his work. Starting in 1948, he would do about one monumental painting per year, his “Dalí Masterpieces,” which were at least five feet long in one or both directions and occupied Dalí creatively for at least a year. His studio had a special slot built into the floor that allowed the huge canvases to be raised and lowered as he worked on them. he painted at least 18 such works between 1948 and 1970.

    In the 1940s and 1950s, Dalí’s paintings focused primarily on religious themes, reflecting his enduring interest in the supernatural. he famously stated: “I am a carnivorous fish that swims in two waters, the cold water of art and the hot water of science”. His goal was to represent space as a subjective reality, which is why many of his paintings from this period show objects and figures at extremely foreshortened angles. He continued to employ his “paranoid-critical” method, which involved working long, arduous hours in the studio and painting his dreams directly onto canvas in manic bouts of energy.

    dalí became quite lonely while he locked himself in his studio making paintings. however, he continued to go out to orchestrate stunts, or what he called “demonstrations,” which were just as outrageous as ever. Designed to provoke, these performance-based interactions reminded audiences that Dalí’s inner imp was alive and well. in one, Dalí drank from a swan’s egg while ants crawled out of his shell; in another he rode around in a car filled to the roof with cauliflower. When his book, The World of Salvador Dalí, was published in 1962, he signed autographed copies in a Manhattan bookstore while attached to a monitor that recorded his blood pressure and brain waves. Clients left with a signed copy and a printed copy of Dalí’s Vital Signs. He also did a series of commercials for television and other media for companies like Lanvin Chocolates, Alka-Seltzer, and Braniff Airlines, projecting his star power far and wide.

    in the 1960s, when dalí arrived in new york city, he always stayed at the st. regis hotel on 5th avenue. she turned the hotel bar practically into her living room, where parties roared throughout her stay. At that time, Dalí had an entourage of strange and charismatic characters with whom he spent time. andy warhol, another eccentric collector of quirky human beings, also spent time with dali at the st. Recorded in legendary history, Warhol gifted a silkscreen painting to Dalí, but the older artist threw it on the hotel floor and proceeded to urinate on it. Rather than take offense, Warhol reportedly loved the entire episode. The group that Warhol later put together in the factory was considered a modern evocation of the setting that Dalí produced earlier.

    late menstruation and death

    The last two decades of Dalí’s life would be the most difficult and psychologically arduous. In 1968 she bought a castle in Pubol for a gala and in 1971 she began to stay there for weeks, alone, forbidding Dalí to visit without her permission. Withdrawals from her gave Dalí a fear of abandonment and led him into a spiral of depression. Gala inflicted permanent damage on Dalí after it came to light that she, in her senility, had spoiled her health by administering over-the-counter medication. the physical damage that gala inflicted on dali hampered her ability to make art until her death. After her death in 1982, Dalí experienced a new bout of depression and is believed to have attempted suicide. She also moved to Púbol Castle, the place of her death.

    one of dalí’s most important achievements in these difficult times was the creation of the dalí theater-museum in figueres. Instead of donating a single work to the city, Dalí said: “Where, if not in my own town, should the most extravagant and solid of my work endure, where else if not here?, the municipal theater, or whatever It was left of it, I thought it was very appropriate.” In preparation for the museum’s opening in 1974, Dalí worked tirelessly to design the building and assemble the permanent collection that would serve as his legacy.

    on january 23, 1989, dalí died of cardiac arrest while listening to his favorite record, tristán e isolda. he is buried under the museum that he built in figueres. His final resting place is three blocks from the house where he was born and in front of the Sant Pere church where he was baptized and had his first communion.

    the legacy of salvador dali

    dalí embodied the idea that life is the ultimate art form and drew his own with such unrelenting passion, purity of mission, and unwavering commitment to exploring and honing his diverse interests and crafts that it is impossible to ignore his innovative impact on life. art world.

    His desire to continually and unapologetically turn the inside out resulted in a body of work that not only evolved the concepts of Surrealism and psychoanalysis into a worldwide visual platform, but also shaped the permission for people to they will embrace themselves in our whole human being. glory, warts and all. By showing us visual representations of his dreams and his inner world laid bare, through exquisite drawing and masterful painting techniques, Dalí opened up a field of possibilities for artists seeking to inject the personal, the mysterious and the emotional into their work. In postwar New York, these concepts were incorporated and transformed by Abstract Expressionists who used Surrealist techniques of automatism to express the subconscious through art, only now through gesture and color. Dalí’s use of wildly juxtaposing found objects to create sculptures helped shake the milieu from its more traditional bones, opening the door for great assemblage artists like Joseph Cornell. Today, we can still see Dalí’s influence in artists who paint in Surrealist styles, others in the spheres of contemporary visionary arts, and across the spectrum of digital art and illustration.

    dalí’s physical character in the world, eccentric and enigmatic, paved the way for artists to see themselves as brands. he demonstrated that there was no separation between dalí the man and dalí the work. his use of avant-garde cinema, provocative public performance, and random, strategic interplay brought his work to life in ways that differed from painting: instead of the viewer simply looking at beautiful work that evoked great imagination, they would be “pushed “. ” in real life by a manifestation of Dalí’s imagination designed to unsettle and conjure reaction. This was later seen in artists such as Yoko Ono. Andy Warhol would go on to invent his own personality, setting, and entourage in much the same way that they would many other 20th century today’s social media landscape, artists are almost expected to be as visible and socially engaging as their artwork.

    dalí also spearheaded the idea that art, the artist and artistry could cross many mediums and become a viable commodity. His extensive efforts in fields ranging from fine art to fashion, jewelry, retail, and theater design have positioned him as a prolific businessman and creator. Unlike mass merchandising, which is often despised in the art world, Dalí’s hand touched such a variety of products and places, that literally anyone in the world could own a piece of it. today this practice is so common that we find great architects like frank gehry designing special rings and necklaces for tiffany or innovators like john baldessari lending his images to skateboards.

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