Salvador Dali is one of the most celebrated artists of his time. Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali y Domenech, as he is known as in full, was born on 11th May 1904 in Spain.
Probably the most famous of the surrealist artists he famous for his explorations of conscious imagery, which has made him a Surrealist icon.
He is best known for his 1931 painting of melting clocks on a landscape setting, The persistence of Memory.
Salvador Dali was encouraged to practice his art from an early age, which led him to join an academy in Madrid.
He later went to Paris in 1920, where he began interacting with artists of the modern era such as Rene Magritte and Pablo Picasso, who inspired Dali’s first Surrealist phase.
Salvador Dali Biography
Salvador Dali was born to a middle-class lawyer and notary father who had a strict disciplinary approach to raising him, often contradicting his mother, who was from an artistic family.
She indulged the young Spanish artist in his art and early eccentricities and encouraged his creativity.
The early life of Dali shaped his art in that, even though he was a very intelligent and precocious child, he often faced anger against his father and his more dominant schoolmates.
His father never tolerated any outbursts, and he punished young Dali seriously, which greatly affected their relationship.
His sister, Anna Maria, was born some years later in 1908 when young Dali’s father enrolled him at the State Primary School.
Salvador Dali couldn’t keep up with public schooling, so his father decided to enroll him at the Hispano French School of Immaculate Conception, Figueres after the first failed attempt.
At his new school, Salvador learned French, which later became very instrumental in his art career and cultural journey.
Salvador discovered Impressionism art while living with the Pichot family of intellectuals and artists at the Moli de la Torre estate on the outskirts of Figueres.
Salvador Dali was just 14 when his works were first exhibited in Figueres as part of a show.
Three years after his first exhibition, Salvador Dali was admitted to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, where he was expelled without a diploma.
Dali criticized his teachers and allegedly started a riot over the school’s professorship choice and declared that no faculty member was competent enough to examine him.
He feared he was too intelligent for the professors there as he had been learning more from the French art magazines than from his “out of touch” professors.
He was arrested for allegedly supporting the Separatist movement in the same year and imprisoned briefly in Gerona even though he was apolitical at the time.
Salvador Dali Types of Work
Salvador Dali spent most of his life promoting his art and leaving the world in awe.
He loved creating a sensation and a controversy at the same time, as shown by his drawing, SacredHeart featuring the words, ‘Sometimes I Spit With Pleasure on the Portrait of My Mother.’ Salvador was influenced a lot by publicity and the fortune that came with it.
According to various art critics, Dali peaked artistically in his 20s and 30s; then, he gave himself over to greed and exhibitionism.
Salvador was fiercely technical, and he painted highly unusual paintings, visionary explorations, and sculptures in life-size interactive art and film.
He is responsible for some of the most iconic Spanish paintings and imagery.
His work ushered in a new generation of Imaginative expression after he showed the world how rich it could be when you dared to embrace boundless and pure creativity, which he did using both his personal life and his professional endeavors.
The life and legend of Salvador Dali is what transformed him into the Spanish surrealist sensation he is.
The discovery of Sigmund Freud’s writings and his affiliation with the Paris Surrealists led to the start and development of his mature artistic style where he started inducing hallucinatory states in himself through “paranoiac-critical.”
As a Surrealist artist, Dali depicted a dream world in which objects in commonplace were deformed, metamorphized bizarrely and irrationally or juxtaposed, as illustrated by one of his most enigmatic work, “The Persistence of Memory.”
He also expanded his artistic exploration into filmmaking and worked with Luis Bunuel, a Spanish director to make two Surrealistic films, An Andalusian Dog, ( Un Chien Andalou, 1929) and The Golden Age, ( L Age d’or, 1930), both of which are filled with grotesque but very suggestive images.
His art appeared years later in another film, Spellbound, by Alfred Hitchcock, in a dream sequence in the film.
Salvador’s art took a turn in the late 1930s to a more academic style after being influenced by Renaissance paintings.
Dali had some ambivalent political views, which led to him being alienated by his Surrealist colleagues during the rise of fascism.
He then moved to the United States where he spent most of his time designing jewelry, theater sets, fashion shops interiors. He had become a notorious figure of the Surrealist movement by 1930 and mid-1930s for his artwork and personality.
Subject Matter of His Artwork; Dali Theatre Museum
In the two decades leading to 1970, Dali’s work had a religious theme, even though he continued to use erotic subjects to represent his childhood.
Dali’s most revealing and interesting book is The Secret Life of Salvador Dali (1942).
Over the next 15 years, Salvador entered a “Nuclear Mysticism Period” when he painted a series of 19 large canvases that were inclusive of historical, scientific, and religious themes.
His work illustrated images depicting the DNA, religious themes of chastity, divine geometry, and the Hyper Cube.
He spent his time between 1970 and 1974 creating the TeatroMuseo Dali, Dali Theatre Museum but later dissolved his relationship with other business managers when all rights to his work were sold without his consent.
Dali was forced to retire from painting in 1980 when he developed a motor disorder and couldn’t hold a paintbrush anymore.
There was a major anthological exhibition of 400 works by Salvador in 1983 in Madrid, Figueres, and Barcelona, where his last pictorial works date from this period.
His wife later died in 1982, which sent him to depression, and he moved to Pubol, where he was burnt severely in a fire in 1984, leaving him confined to a wheelchair.
His friends, fellow artists, and patrons relocated him back to Figueres, at the comfort of the TeatroMuseo where he died of heart failure in 1989. Salvador Dali’s death was honored with a major retrospective exhibition at the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart — Salvador Dali, 1904 to 1989.