Salvador Dali was born on May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. The area of its childhood was a privileged place in his life. At maturity, away from home, he declared: “I want to return to the best place in the world, to Cadaqués”.
He was spoiled by his mother, as well as by his grandmother and aunts. From an early age Dali showed interest in drawing. He followed particular courses of drawing. In 1922, Dali studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.
In 1929, during his voyage in Paris, he met André Breton and others surrealist artists and he joined officially the surrealist group.
Gala – the woman behind the great artist
In the same year, Dali met Gala Diaconov, the wife of the poet Paul Éluard. Gala was a very mysterious woman. He was enraptured by Gala. In 1934, Gala married Dali. He wrote in his Secret Life:
“She was destined to be my Gradiva, the one who moves forward, my victory, my wife”,
With Gala on his side, Salvador became famous. He started to sign his paintings with Gala-Salvador Dalí. He explained “Especially with Gala’s blood, I paint my paintings.”
Salvador Dali – one of the most famous Surrealist artists
In creating his surrealist paintings, Dali used the Paranoiac Critical method. The artist defined this method as “irrational knowledge” based on a “delirium of interpretation”. His famous statement is well known:
“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.“
In Dalí’s works we find several symbols constantly present as eggs, ants, elephants, clocks, crutches … Each symbol is a specific code. To understand his work it is necessary to decipher these symbols. For example, the egg represents life, renewal; the ants are references to death, the elephants are a symbol of strength; the clock can symbolize a feeling of time pressure.
From the works of the famous Spanish Surrealist artist I selected 3 paintings: The Persistence of Memory (1931), The Face of War (1940) and Galatea of the Spheres (1952).
The Persistence of Memory, 1931
The image of the melting pocket watches is one of Salvador Dali’s most well known paintings. The background of the painting is the rock of Cape Creuse in a hot day. Here, under the power of the sun three clocks are melting.
Mysterious clocks are trickling on a dry olive tree, a block of stone and a human body. There is also a fourth watch, a pocket watch, unaffected by the heat of the sun, but attacked by the ants. The symbols are not easy to decipher. The Surrealists do not aim to elucidate the mysteries, but to maintain them. Salvador Dalí said: “What is important is to spread confusion, not eliminate it.”
The Face of War, 1940
The painting deals with the horrible effects of war, the terror that war brings. The background of the painting is the desert. In the foreground is a face marked by destruction. In her eyes and mouth are other faces, identical to the main face. The painting reveals the destruction and loss of human life caused by the war.
Galatea of the Spheres, 1952
Galatea of the Spheres depicts Gala Dalí as pieced together through a series of spheres arranged in a continuous array. This painting makes us discover Dali’s passion for Gala, his muse and wife. On the other hand, the spheres that make up her face show the passion that Dali felt for science and the disintegration of the atom.
If you’re interested in finding other articles on our site about art, here it is: My most favorite painters of all time – a reminder of how beautiful art is.