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Salvador Dali was born into a middle-class family on May 11th, 1904 in Figures Spain. In 1921 he entered the San Fernando Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid where he made friends with Federico Garcia Lorca, Luis Bunuel, and Eugenio Montes. He pursued his personal intersest in Cubism and Futurism. In June of 1923 Dali was suspended from the Academy for having indicated the students to rebel against the authorities of the school. He was let back in October of 1925, and a year later Dali was permanently expelled. In 1924 he was imprisoned in Figures and Gerona for political reasons. Dali joined the Surrealists in 1929 due to the influence of metaphysical paintings, and his contact with Miro.
Dali developed his method over the next few years. He describes his method as 'paranoic-critical, a 'spontaneous method of irrational knowledge based on critical and systematic objectivation of delirious associations and interpretations.' Works he produced at this time include The Lugubrious Game 1929, The Persistence of Memory 1931, and Surrealist Objects, Gauges of Instantaneous Memory 1932.
Salvador Dali was the top Surrealists of this time. Surrealism explored the subconscious, the dream world, and irrational elements of the psyche in the belief that the discoveries to be made from such exploration would be of more fundamental importance to the human condition than any other form of social analysis.
Salvador Dali was very fascinated by the fleeting state of the mind between sleep and consciousness, dream and reality, sanity and insanity, as one in which the mind functioned purely, free from the constraints of logic and social behavior. He read psychological case histories, hoping to represent neuroses in an ultra-realistic style, objectifying the irrational with photographic accuracy.
In 1936, Dali began painting in a classical manner again, switching between Italian, Spanish and pompier styles.
Dali was very politically involved, and had some extreme opinions. He was fascinated with Hitler, and his relations with the rest of the Surrealist group became strained after 1934, breaking away in 1939 when he declared his support for Franco. He moved to the USA, living there from 1939-1948.
Dali held many one-man shows during his career. He directed and was a part of many films including the first surrealist film "Un Chiea A Dalou A Andalusian Dog", with the director Luis Bunuel. In 1945 he designed the surrealistic dream sequence for Hitchcock's Spellbound, and filmed Don Juan Tenorio, in 1951.
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Salvador Dali returned to Spain, marrying Gala in 1958. She was the only woman in his life. She was his model, his muse, and his most effective agent. He turned to sculpture in 1965, repeating themes from his paintings: a Venus equipped with cupboard drawers, elephants with spiders' legs, soft watches, etc. He created his sculptures out of bronze and crystal. The reason he turned to sculpture was mainly financial. Uncontrolled print runs caused resulted in many fakes being sold on the artistic mass market of the 1960's.
Salvador Dali uses history, literature, religion, mythology, politics, contemporary science and psychology to construct a series of personae within which he could create his work, and in the context of which he could manipulate its reception.
As Dali creates an artwork, one of his goals is do something that is strange, that comes from the deep thoughts of his mind and that people can relate to by just looking at it. These thoughts come from his dreams, beliefs, and reality.
Salvador Dali is looked upon as a surrealist par excellence. A lot of people refer to Dali as crazy painter or that he has mental problems, but the real truth is, Dali is a genius. Just because he thinks different from everyone else, do not mean he has mental problems. Such portrayal is the result of newspapers and magazines, and their gossip columns. It appears as if Dali behaved like an eccentric in order to gain publicity. He said of himself, 'I want everybody to talk about Dali - even if they speak well of him.'
Salvador Dali never understood his artworks. "Never Dali understand one painting of Dali… Because Dali only creates enigmas." Mystification was his way of life.
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