This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we come back to our "Art is Awesome" series with a focus on the surrealist sensation Salvador Dali.
The man. The master. The marvel. Salvador Dali is one of the most celebrated artists of all time.
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About the artist
Salvador Dali (his full name was Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marquis of Dalí de Púbol) was born on May 11, 1904 to parents Salvador Dali Cusi, a prominent notary, and Felipa Domenech Ferres, a gentle mother who often indulged young Salvador’s eccentric behavior.
As a child Dalí was taken to his brother's grave, who had died of gastroenteritis nine months earlier, and told by his parents that he was his brother's reincarnation, a concept which he came to believe. Of his brother, Dalí said, "[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections." He "was probably a first version of myself but conceived too much in the absolute." Images of his long-dead brother would reappear embedded in his later works, including Portrait of My Dead Brother.
His mother Felipa was a devout Catholic and the elder Salvador an Atheist, which was a combination that heavily influenced their son’s worldview. Dali’s artistic talent was obvious from a young age, and both of his parents supported it—though it is known that the relationship with his disciplinarian father was strained. Ultimately, Dali’s raw creativity and defiant attitude would distance him from his father, but it would also become the cornerstone of his wildly imaginative artistic feats.
Dali spent his childhood and early adolescence in Figueres, in the Hispano-French School of the Immaculate Conception where he learned French, and breaks in the coastal village of Cadaques where his family had a summer home. There, he drew and painted the seaside landscape and met his early mentor Ramon Pichot. Cadaques is also where Dali’s parents built him his first art studio.
Dali’s tumultuous 1920s life perfectly reflected the decade’s “roaring” nickname. Four years after being accepted to the San Fernando Academy of Art in Madrid, he was expelled after refusing to be examined in the theory of art and declaring the examiners incompetent to judge him.
He experimented with futurism, impressionism and cubism, and during one of his several trips to Paris, movement leader Andre Breton exposed him to the world of Surrealism. In 1925, Dali had his first solo exhibition in Barcelona, and the decade saw his works showcased throughout the world. After leaving the Academy, Dali returned to Catalonia where his art became increasingly bizarre and even grotesque.
The thirties watched Dali transform from a key figure in the Surrealist movement into its enemy, and Dali was definitely expelled from Surrealimsn in 1939 by Andre Breton. during this period, Dali was heavily influenced by the psychoanalysis of Sigmund Freud, whom he met in 1938.
Salvador Dali was in the heart of his classical period throughout the 1950s. He created nineteen large canvases characterized by meticulously detailed images of religious, historical and scientific themes, or what Dali called “nuclear mysticism.” He became obsessed with geometry, DNA, divinity and experimented heavily with visual illusions.
Even as he aged and his health began to decline, Salvador Dali remained resilient in his artistic quest to examine life from every possible angle. It is in 1975 that Dali painted his final masterwork, a mind-shattering visual illusion entitled "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko)". It is now one of the most popular works among The Dali Museum’s permanent collection.
In the last years of his life, and following the death of his dear wife Gala, Dali painted less and less. Still fascinated by the ideas of immortality and the fourth dimension, his last works were mathematical in nature—challenging the plasticity of life as we know it.
He died of heart failure on January 23rd, 1989 at the age of 84 at the Teatro-Museo in Figueres where he lived.
To see more from Dali:
© Copyright 2019 Salvador Dali Museum, Inc. (The Dali)
Salvador Dali Images and Works © Copyright 2019 Salvador Dali
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