Salvador Dali

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Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali, was born Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech at 8:45 a.m., Monday, 11 May 1904, in the small town, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, of Figueres, Spain, approximately sixteen miles from the French border in the principality of Catalonia. His parents supported his talent and built him his first studio, while he was still a child, in their summer home. Dali went on to attend the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid, Spain, was married to Gala Eluard in 1934 and died on 23 January 1989 in a hospital in the town he born. Dali did not limit himself to one particular style or medium. Beginning with his early impressionistic work going into his surrealistic works, for which he is best known, and ending in what is known as his classic period, it becomes apparent just how varied his styles and mediums are. He worked with oils, watercolors, drawings, sculptures, graphics and even movies. Dali held his first one-man show in Barcelona in 1925 where his talents were first recognized. He became internationally known when some of his paintings were shown in the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928. The next year he joined the Paris Surrealist Group and began his love affair with Gala who became more than just his lover, she was his business manager, muse and greatest inspiration. Surrealism emerged from what was left of Dada in the early 1920’s and unlike Dada, a nihilistic movement, Surrealism held a promising and more positive view of art and because of this won many converts. It began as a literary movement in a Paris magazine. What they held in common was their belief in the importance of the unconscious mind and its manifestations, as was stressed by Freud. They believed that through the unconscious mind a plethora of artistic imagery would be unveiled. Both of these movements were also anti-establishment and they rejected the traditional Western Judeo-Christian beliefs and moral values and believed that reason and logic had failed man’s quest for self-knowledge. The Surrealists differed from Dada in one other, ideological aspect. The Surrealists believed that man could indeed improve the human condition, the major difference between the two movements. A few years before his marriage to Gala in 1934, Dali emerged as a leader of the Surrealist Movement. Although Dali was intrigued with the Surrealist tech...

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...n his childhood. This particular work is officially considered a work of surrealism but Dali’s shift from Surrealism through the very means that got him into surrealism, paranoiac-critical method, are apparent. Around the time Dali was working on his eighteen large canvases, he returned to his Catholic upbringing and renewed his vows with Gala in Spain. In 1974 Dali opened the Teatro Museo Dali in the town in which he grew up, Figueres. Gala died in 1982 and Dali’s health began to fail. There was later a fire in Gala’s castle in which Dali was severely and consequently his health deteriorated further. Two years later he had a pacemaker implanted and spent his life almost in total seclusion. On 23 January 1989, Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali i Domenech died in a hospital in Figueres because of heart failure and respiratory complications.

Works Cited

Dali, Salvador. English translation by Haakon M. Chevalier. The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. New York, NY: 1942.

De La Croix, Horst, Richard G. Tansey, Diane Kirkpatrick. Art Through The Ages. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers; New York, NY: 1991.

Moorhouse, Paul. Dali. Brompton Books Corporation; New York, NY: 1993.

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