Salvador Dali is arguably the world’s most iconic and well-known surrealist painter. His artistic prowess ranged from classic painting and sculpture to photography, multimedia work, collaborations with other artists, film, and performance art.
Dali was born and raised under uniquely interesting circumstances. His brother, who was also called Salvador, passed away as an infant, 9 months before the artist’s birth. His parents told Salvador that he was the reincarnation of his brother, which he believed growing up.
Dali’s Early Life in Art
Salvador Dali was sent to drawing school as a child, and by the time he had reached his teens, his father was exhibiting his charcoal drawings. Later in 1922, Dali travelled to San Fernando to attend the School of Fine Arts. There he was known as an unusual young man, and was often mocked for his long hair, side burns, and 19th century aesthetic.
While he was attending the academy, Dali began to experiment with Dada and Cubism. However, his studies were cut short as he was expelled just before his final exams for stating that nobody at the school was qualified enough to examine his art. Once expelled, he travelled to Paris, where he met Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso, both of whom influenced his artistic style. Nowadays, his own style influences everything from modern art to the Aussie pokies for high roller players!
Dali became known for borrowing from multiple styles of painting, from renaissance to impressionism. This technique garnered fascinating critiques from art critics, who were not sure how to interpret his work. It was around this time that Dali also grew his trademark moustache, which stayed with him for the rest of his days.
The Middle and Later Years
In 1929, Dali met Gala, the woman who would later become his wife. His father disapproved of their union, and saw surrealism as a poor influence on his son. When he heard that Dali had painted a work that included an inscription insulting his mother, who had died years earlier from cancer, the senior Dali disowned his son and instructed him not to return home. At this point, Dali married Gala and moved to Port Lligat.
Salvador Dali spent his middle and old ages travelling between Catalonia, Spain and the United States. He collaborated with other artists, socialised with social elites, and penned numerous newspaper stories as well. He also became known for his flamboyant and larger-than-life personality. After Gala’s passing in 1982, Dali reportedly lost most of his will to live, and began to become erratic and suicidal. He eventually passed away from heart failure in 1989 at the age of 84.
Dali’s life may have been complex and at times filled with devastation, but he has left behind a legacy that few others can compare their own to. Some of Dali’s most acclaimed and valuable artworks include The Persistence of Memory, The Temptation of Saint Anthony, and Swans Reflecting Elephants. He is also known for his more contemporary and niche works, such as his collaboration with film maker Walt Disney to create the short animated film Destino.