Salvador Dali

Salvador Dali

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Salvador Dali

precise and detailed painful reality and, placed them inside somber and depressing

landscapes as in The persistence of Memory' in 1931 (Smith, 2002, 1/1).

His paintings showed a surrealist maturity since he was twenty. From 1926 to 1929,

Dali begun making objects loaded with modern sexual symbols. For example, showing a

dirty figure filled with excrement as in 'The Lugubrious Game' done in 1929. At this

period, surrealists were very attracted to Salvador Dali because of his strong personality

and his violent works and paintings full of sexual and excrements allusions (Neret, 2000,

p.21).

The trompe-l'oeuil photographs, by Salvador Dali, took surrealist paintings to another

level by using techniques never used before. These paintings are filled with unusual

shapes, double-sided figures and, anamorphosis, that are distorted images that could be

well understood only if seen from a certain angle. They made him "a quarter century in

advance, the patron saint of American photo-realists" (Néret, 2000, p.27). They were

used to transcribe the image of Dali's dreams. This was a revelation in his surrealist

paintings mainly caused by a very special person in Dali's life called Gala.

As a person, Salvador Dali was very special and had a revelation in his life by meeting

Helena Diakonoff or Gala. It all begun by a visit of Andre Breton, Louis Aragon and,

Paul Eluard to Dali. They were three masterminds of the surrealism movement. At this

time, Gala was Paul Eluard's wife and the minute she entered Salvador's home

everything changed in his life. She was for Dali, "the woman of his childhood dream"

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(qtd. in Néret's book, 2000, p.21). She was all the women he represented in his

paintings before meeting her. Dali announced that "the small of her back was extremely



feminine and pronounced […] and, the energetic leanness of her torso, her delicate

buttocks and, the slenderness of her waist enhanced and rendered greatly more

desirable" (qtd. in Néret's book, 2000, p.22).

Dali had extremely intense feelings towards Gala. Every time he started talking to her,

he burst into insane laughter and when she used to leave, Dali fell to the ground. He

believed that his love to Gala was perpetual and he declared that "she was destined to be

my Gradiva, my victory, my wife" (qtd. in Néret, 2000, p.24). He never felt that happy in

his life and stated that "the idea that in my own room where I was going to work there

might be a women, […], suddenly struck me as so seductive that it was difficult for me to

believe this could be realized" (qtd. in Néret, 2000, p.36).

Once, Dali asked Gala what does she want him to do. At that time, he had just read

Jensen's novel, Gradiva, in which the heroine succeeds in healing the male protagonist

psychologically. She said she wants him to kill her. He then noted "one of the lightning

ideas that flashed into my mind was to throw Gala from the top of the bell-tower" (qtd. in

Néret, 2000, p.26). But, right then, Dali realized that Gala weaned his crime and cured

him, because he had reached the great trial of his life, "the trial of love" (Ion,1994,p.36).

At this point, he was healed from his hysterical symptoms and was back to life again after

Gala's psychological help. He claimed, "I became master again of my laughter, of my

smile, and of my gestures. A new health, fresh as a rose, begun to grow in the centre of

my spirit" (qtd. in Néret, 2000, p.26).

As well as a person, Dali showed uniqueness as an artist especially after the entrance

of Gala in his life. From 1926 to 1929, Salvador showed lot of excrements in his



paintings. At this time, after meeting his wife, he introduced the "elementary

biological character" (Néret, 2000, p.22) of his future works. The sexual symbols taking

place in Dali's life over flew into his art. The passionate love Dali felt towards Gala

would dominate all of his works. After the phenomenal psychological help from Gala we

talked about, Dali sensed a deep change coming over him in his works. He begun doing

the trompe-l'oeuil photographs that changed the whole concept of surrealism.

Finally, we saw how Salvador Dali took art and surrealism to another level with

outrageous concepts and techniques never used before. He also had a gigantic revelation

by meeting his wife Gala that changed him as a person and, as an artist.

All these steps and events made Dali a unique being in art history and a major influence

to all his following painters and surrealists.

Salvador Dali

Bibliography

Dali, Salvador. (1993). New Standard encyclopedia. Chicago: Library of Congress

Cataloging-in-Publication.

Gibson I., Torroella R.S, Fares F., Ades D. & Vidal A.S. (1994). Salvador Dali: the early

years. Great Britain: Thames & Hudson Ltd, London.

Néret, G (2000). The Trial of Love. In C. Plant (Trans.), Dali (p.21). Germany: Benedikt

Taschen Verlag.

Thames & Hudson (2001). ART20. [Online]. Available:

http://www.artchive.com/artchive/D/Dali.html [2004, December 1].

Smith (2002). The life of Salvador Dali. [Online]. Available:

http://www.virtualdali.com/#biography [2004, December 1].

Surrealism. (1993). New Standard encyclopedia. Chicago: Library of Congress

Cataloging-in-Publication.
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