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Dane Christensen

Art- 1010-405
Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali was a provocative thorn in societies foot. Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto
Dal Domnech was born on May 11, 1904, close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain. As an
influential leader in the surrealist movement, he was later excluded by his peers from the very
subculture that he personified. It seems he was too much to handle. Possibly a artistic genius who
bloomed before the world could accept and fully appreciate his work. This in turn fed the fire of
who he was and what he aimed to do with his life.
Dalis early family life was complicated by the death of his older brother also named
Salvador, who passed away from gastroenteritis nine months before Dalis birth. His mother also
died when he was 16 years old. He later said concerning his mother's death "was the greatest
blow I had experienced in my life. I worshipped her... I could not resign myself to the loss of a
being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul." Dal, Secret Life,
pp.152153, Dal, Salvador. The Secret Life of Salvador Dali. New York: Dial Press, 1942.

After her passing Dalis father would move on to marry his deceased wifes sister. Dali also had a
sister who later wrote and published a book about Dali Dali As Seen By His Sister.
Dal came from a family of storymakers, who embellished their past to impress. Dals
father told everyone that his own father had been a doctor, but he had actually traded as a
corkmaker. When Dals grandfather committed suicide by jumping from a building, the familys
story was that he had died tragically of a brain trauma. Following family tradition, Dal creates
his mythology: in his autobiography Secret Life he reinvents his childhood, giving it the color,
intrigue and darkness appropriate for a genius.

His artistic skill and creative vision was very evident is his youth and his family
supported him and encouraged him to pursue his talents by admitting him into schools and
academies. Although his father, Don Salvador Dal y Cusi wasn't always supportive in his later
life. He strongly disapproved of his son's romance with Gala, and saw his connection to the
Surrealists as a bad influence on his morals.
Dali lead a colorful life, and loved everything luxurious and excessive. His strong and
imposing presence with his long cape, walking stick, haughty expression, and upturned waxed
moustache, was famous for having said that "every morning upon awakening, I experience a
supreme pleasure: that of being Salvador Dal." The Surreal World of Salvador Dal. Smithsonian Magazine. 2005.
Retrieved August 31, 2006.

He was highly imaginative, and indulged in unusual and grandiose behavior. His
eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his
artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his
critics. He was also known to avoid paying tabs at restaurants by drawing on the checks he
wrote. His theory was the restaurant would never want to cash such a valuable piece of art, and
he was usually correct.(Salvador Dali. Expert art authentication, certificates of authenticity and expert
art appraisals - Art Experts. Retrieved on 2014-05-12.)

His temperament and overall nature was egotistical and greatly affected by the way he
was raised. When he was five, Dal was taken to his brother's grave and told by his parents that
he was his brother's reincarnation, a concept which he came to believe. Of his brother, Dal said,
"...[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections."

At the age of 19 Dal was expelled from the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in
1926, shortly before his final exams when he was accused of starting an unrest. Meisler, Stanley (April
2005). "The Surreal World of Salvador Dal". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2014-07-12.

Later that same year he personally met his revered idol Pablo Picasso. Picasso had already heard
favorable reports about the young Dali and later introduced him to many more surrealists. Dali
used these connections and they influenced his work greatly as he developed his own style over
the years.
In the 1930s as WWII creeped closer into Europe, specifically in Spain, Dal butted heads
with members of the Surrealist movement. In a trial held in 1934, he was expelled from the
group. He had held anarchist and communist beliefs since his youth and refused to take a stance
against Spanish militant Francisco Franco (while Surrealist artists like Luis Buuel, Picasso and
Mir had), but it's unclear whether this directly led to his expulsion. Another possible reason for
his expulsion could have been his egotistic publicity stunts. He and his wife Gala fled to the
United States and remained there for eight years. This time spent in New York was very
important to Dali. The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art gave him his own retrospective
exhibit in 1941. It was during this period that Dali began to experiment with other subjects. Over
the next 15 years he would include optical illusions, holography and geometry within his
paintings. Much of his work contained images depicting divine geometry, the DNA, the
Hypercube and religious themes of Chastity.
Salvador Dalis most popular work, The Persistence of Memory was painted in 1931 at
the age of 27. The year before this picture was painted, Dali formulated his "paranoiac-critical
method," in which he dabbled with self-induced psychotic hallucinations in order to create art.
"The difference between a madman and me," he said, "is that I am not mad." His deep

fascination with the subconscious, surreal dreams, and other avant-garde ideology are boldly
exemplified in this piece.
The melting clocks wrapping softly around the corners of box-like surfaces and over
branches of a rootless tree completely destroy the notion of time as a reality. The hungry ants
swarming the a metal pocket watch turn my thoughts away from logic. What is believed to be
Dalis deformed fleshy face add mystery and a small glimpse into his uniquely twisted dreams.
The cliffs in the background appear to be the coast of Catalonia, Dali's home, which give the
feeling that this distorted place might actually exist. Weather in reality or the reality of Dalis
dream state, it provokes a feeling of wanderlust and anarchistic lifestyle where dreams really
come true.

The Persistence of Memory uses the basic elements of art including lines, values, shapes,
form, colors, and texture. The lines that Dali uses in the painting are very distinct and create
definite detail. This piece however surreal, appear very life-like. The lines on the mountains are
noticeable, and give them a rough and realistic feel. On the white figure Dali uses different

lengths and widths to create individuality in each lash. He also used lines to improve the realistic
look of the reflection of the mountains in the ocean or lake. The lines on the platform and brown
box object are straight and geometrically correct.
The values and shading in this painting are very drawn out and detailed. The shadows
creeping up the bottom right hand corner, ones used on the boxes, and cliffs are not logical. I can
get a feel for what time of day it is but it is unclear to me where exactly the light sources are,
since there seems to be multiple. Thick values give a three dimensional illusion to this piece. The
brown object also uses shading to get this effect. The melting one watches appear shiny and
metallic while the tree has a dry bark-like feel.
This painting contains a variety of shapes and forms that add to the uniqueness of its
style. There are noticeable figures and shapes, and unidentifiable ones throughout the painting.
Many of the objects in this painting interact with others, either resting on or touching. The clocks
are an example of this because they almost mold to whatever object they come into contact with.
The colors are not vivid or bright, but more saturated and dark. The colors in The Persistence of
Memory are primarily warm including a lot of yellow, gold, black, and brown (Warm Colors).
The white figure's skin is smooth as the shading gives the impression that the figure's body is
wavy and ameba-like. Its moustache and lips where his eyebrow appear to be drawn on and
The central focal point are the watches (or time). They are the only reoccurring theme in
the piece. They differ in color and position which may imply different times in his life and how
he is reacting to them. The whole scene gives me a slightly unsettling feeling, due to the
emptiness of the sky and middleground. I almost feel lost and stranded. I associate the color and

cliffs to the barren red rock deserts of southern Utah. A place I find dangerously beautiful and
silently hostile.
There is no better way to describe Dalis style than in his own words, Hand Painted
Dream Photographs. He pulls together multiple objects with no logical relation and portrays
them in such a meticulous and realistic way that they seem to look and feel real. Dark shadows
contrast the objects against bizarre backgrounds.
Salvador Dali is Surrealism.