21 Jan

Salvador Dalí was born in Figueres, Catalonia in 1904.
He was a Spanish artist who became one of the most important painters of the 20th century. He was primarily a surrealist painter but he had also tried his hand at other artistic styles including Cubism – a technique he experimented with whilst at the San Fernando School of Fine Arts in Madrid. He later met Picasso whose works heavily influenced him over the next couple of years.
In 1929, Dalí joined the surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. He was to become a leading light in the surrealist movement – his fellow artists acclaimed his method of accessing the subconscious mind in order to achieve greater artistic creativity. He achieved this by inducing hallucinatory states, which he called the ‘paranoiac critical’ method. His most famous work is ‘The Persistence of Memory’ which is sometimes called ‘Melting Clocks’. Many of Dalí’s paintings were of a similar nature and produced from images drawn from his subconscious and looking at some of his works what a strange mind he must have had! Certainly he was an eccentric – he delivered a lecture on surrealistic art wearing a diving suit!
Dalí used a lot of symbolism in his work – animals, especially elephants were featured. The egg was another common image incorporated into his paintings – well he was an egocentric sort of person!
Seriously though, the artist produced a prolific amount of material during his career – over 1,500 paintings as well as illustrations for books, lithographs, sculptures, a mass of drawings and designs for theatre sets. He also collaborated with Walt Disney in the production of a cartoon and wrote his autobiography ‘The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí’. However, his largest single project was his work on the ‘Dalí Theatre and Museum’ in his hometown of Figueres. Started in 1960 he was still making additions in the mid-1980s.
Dalí died in 1989. A large amount of his work is displayed in the Dalí Theatre and Museum. A few miles away, at Cadaqués, a village on the Costa Brava, is the house-cum-studio where Salvador and his wife Gala lived for several years. It is now the Casa Dalí Museum, a quirky house that is also open to the public.

Robert Bovington
Roquetas de Mar
January 2012



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