Salvador Dali was born Spain in 1904. Growing up he enjoyed drawing. His father was very strict, but his mother was nice and encouraged Salvador’s love for art. He often got into trouble for daydreaming in school.
Dali Becomes an Artist
While Salvador Dali was young he drew and pained. He drew and painted outdoor scenes such as sailboats and houses. He also painted portraits. As a teenager he experimented with Impressionism. When he turned seventeen he moved to Madrid, Spain to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. Dali lived a wild life while at the academy. He grew his hair and had long sideburns. He hung out with a radical group of people. When he was close to graduation he was expelled for causing mayhem. He even spent time in jail for opposing the dictatorship of Spain.
Move into Surrealism
Salvador Dali continued to experiment and study different kinds of art. He explored classic art, Cubism, Dadaism, and other avant-garde painters. Eventually he became interested in Surrealism. From then on he became one of the most important artists of the Surrealist movement.
Surrealism is a cultural movement. The word “surrealism” means “above realism”. Surrealists believed that the subconscious mind (where dreams, thoughts, false memories are) held truth even more important than facts. The movement changed film, poetry, music, and art. Surrealist paintings are often a mixture of strange objects (melting clocks, splotches of paint) and normal things that are out of place (a turtle wearing a jetpack).
The Persistence of Memory
In 1931 Salvador Dali painted what would become his most famous painting titled The Persistence of Memory. It is perhaps the most famous Surrealist painting. It is has ants on a clock, as well as melting clocks. The setting is a normal looking desert landscape, but it is covered with melting watches and other bizarre elements.
Salvador Dali’s Rise to Fame
Salvador Dali’s art began to be internationally famous. Dali married his longtime girlfriend Gala and they moved to the United States in 1940. In the late 1930s the Spanish Civil War took place and then World War II in the early 1940s. Many of Dali’s paintings deal with the horrors of war.
Salvador Dali and Religion
After the war, Dali began to paint about religion. He had grown up Catholic. One of his most famous paintings during this time was Christ of St. John of the Cross which he painted in 1951. In the picture the cross floats high in the sky. You look down from an extreme angle as if from heaven. Below the cross is a lake with a boat and some fishermen.
Dali is the most famous of the Surrealist artists. His ability to shock and entertain made his paintings popular to many people. Many of today’s artists have been inspired by Dali’s work.
Facts About Salvador Dali
- His full name is Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech.
- All of the watches in The Persistence of Memory tell different times.
- He was famous for his long curly mustache.
- He wrote an autobiography called The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. Some of the stories are true, but some are just made up.
- Dali admired scientist Albert Einstein and was especially interested in his Theory of Relativity.
- He once worked on a film with movie director Alfred Hitchcock.
Salvador Dali’s Mustache Salvador Dali’s iconic mustache look is made by having the ends of his waxed mustache sticking straight up.