The Secret Life of Salvador Dali


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Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dalí y Domenech, was born in May 11 1904, in a small town called Figueres located in Pyrenees foothills, Spain. Of the three children in their family, Salvador was the second born. His first brother died and only nine months before he came to the world. For this reason, Dali’s parents always had this feeling that he is some sought of a reincarnation of his dead brother. Dali also admits later on in life that he felt always felt like he and his brother were one whenever he took a brush and began to paint. In school Dali was quite unruly, however his artistic talent was recognized at a very tender age. He had both his parents support most of the time. when Dali was 16 years of age, he lost his mother to breast cancer, this was a sad moment for him and his family. The father however, remarried her mother’s sister and this caused him and his father to have a strained relationship making them drift further apart. Dali respected her aunt for sure, he just couldn’t get over the fact that his father replaced her mother.

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While in college in Madrid, Barcelona, Dali was an Art student. He seemed to transition and assimilate into different artistic styles there was displaying his unusual talent through his paintings. The late 1920s marks the turning point of his painting style. When Dali discovered the writings of Sigmund Freud talking about the erotic importance of subconscious imagery and his connection with Paris surrealists; this is a group comprising of writers and artists who strive to establish a greater reality of every human subconscious over reality and reason. Dali began to practice the ‘paranoiac critical’ to enable him access the images in his subconscious. Ones he mastered this; this is where he developed his matured artistic style. He’s style matured quit rapidly between the years 1929 to 1937 earning him the title world’s best surrealist artist.

Surrealism is the action of opening up one’s individuals mind and accessing the subconscious through art. Using this style Dali always depicted a dream world in his paintings, where the common place objects just seemed to be deformed, juxtaposed or otherwise transformed into a strange and irrational manner . Salvador always portrayed these objects in precise yet painful and realistic manner, always placing them in a slightly sunlit landscape as a representation of the reminiscing he did for his Catalonian home.

The most enigmatic of his paintings and probably the most famous of them all is “the persistence of memory” which he did in 1931. In this image, watches made of limp are melting eerily, as they rest on a very calm landscape. This was a two-dimensional art exploring double imagery. Using Luis Bunuel, a Spanish director, he was able to make two surrealistic films; ‘An Andalusian Dog’ in 1929 and ‘The Golden Age’ in 1930. These films had so many grotesques but yet still so suggestive images. Under the influence of renowned painter Raphael in the late 1930s, Dali transitioned to painting in a more academic style. At this time, he had been alienated from the surrealist community because of his contradictory political views on the rise of fascism, he is eventually permanently expelled from the group.

Dali met his wife Gala during the time he was still indulging in surrealist paintings. Gala was older than Dali by thirteen years straight. A lot of people, his father included really disagreed with their idea of them being lovers, terming it as totally crazy considering the huge age difference. This never got to them though because, they get married and become life long partners. Dali was so in love with Gala, making her feature in many of his paintings to show the world how important she was in his life. Gala was the person responsible for bringing Dali his Christian faith. This caused him to transition his style from surrealism to classical. It can be said that these classical paintings are among the most moving works he did. Dali’s works here were influenced by new faith and new discoveries. Science really caught his attention than ever before, especially with the discovery of the atom and thee double helix structure of DNA. Continuing with the style of double imagery, Dali created one of his majestic works which took him almost a year to bring into completion. His majestic work was over five feet no matter any direction it took. These sixteen works, described as larger than life was very inspiring and showed how Dali chose to represent his understanding of science and religion. Around 1950 to 1970s, Salvador indulged in painting a lot of religion themed images, he however never ceased to explore some of the erotic subjects that enabled him to reminisce about his childhood memories

Anyone who has laid their eyes on Salvador’s art pieces, will always have the image of his works engrained in their mind. This man remains one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. He was capable of providing the world of art with his bizarre, yet comical character of himself; a walking piece of art. Having transitioned and evolved in his styles throughout the century, he is mostly remembered for his surrealists’ paintings. The manner in which he had mastered this style, allowed him to always be a t the forefront of the artistic society, carrying along his fans and evolving with them in terms of their tastes.

Work citations.

  1. Dalí, Salvador, 2013.
  2. Fanés, Fèlix, and Fèlix Fanés. Salvador Dali: The construction of the image, 1925-1930. Yale University Press, 2007.
  3. McNeese, Tim, and Salvador Dalí. Salvador Dali. Infobase Publishing, 2006.
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