★Salvador Dalí Research

This project is an assignment which runs parallel to the The Time Travel project, called ‘Wish you were here’. The concept of this is to engage in a correspondence with an artist from our given time periods, where we will be both the artist and ourselves.

The artist I have chosen is Salvador Dalí. He is one of the most prominent artists from that era and one of the greatest abstract/surrelaist arists of all time. Salvador Dali’s artwork never ceases to amaze me in the way his eccentric mannerims seem to reflect in each individual piece. His style of painting seems to exude a sense of mystery,with strange composition of objects and colours; almost to a point where I consider it as ‘strange’ yet simulataneously beautiful. This project will provide me a the opportunity to explore Dali’s work in greater depth.


☆Research on Salvador Dalí

-Name of chosen artist: Salvador Domènec Felip Jacint Dalí i Domènech, Marquis de Púbol

-Known as: Salvador Dalí

-Born: May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989

-From: Figueres,Spain

-Field: A prominent surrealist painter

-Work produced: Over 1,500 paintings, illustration for books, lithographs, designs for theatre sets and costumes


☆The style of Salvador Dalí

Salvador Dali’s style of painting and works is centralised around the concept of ‘Surrealism’. He tried to improve many different styles of art, such as Impressionism, Pointillism, Futurism, Cubism, and Neo-Cubism. Nevertheless, he sought to fulfill the needs of his mental and social life through a new form of art. This new style of art was Surrealism that allowed Dali to express all of his “erotic desires” and at the same time change the way the world viewed art.

☆Salvador Dali & Surrealism

Dali sought a change in his life after the meeting with the Surrealists in 1928 in Paris and he knew that this change was not going to occur in Catalonia. However, the Surrealists saw in Dali the future of the movement, because he was armed with an exceptionally rich imaginary baggage. This baggage was a result of his erotic desires for women and his undying interest in the concept of the unconsciousness devised by Sigmund Freud. His precise style enhanced the nightmare effect of his paintings. By 1929 he had become a leader of surrealism.

Dali’s first Surrealist period was in the year of 1929 when he first joined the movement in Paris. One of his most prominent works during this period is The Great Masturbator, which was influenced by his strong attraction to the wife of Paul Eduard, Gala. The main subject in this work is a large female figure with a fractured head, yet very calm and taken into deep emotions. The presence of the cracks on the face could signify a form of physical exhaustion. Nevertheless, the picture can be analyzed from different aspects since Dali was able to incorporate many odd objects to it. An example of this is what appears to be a grasshopper on the woman’s belly. This work somewhat depicts Dali’s emotions toward Gala.

Salvador Dali, The Great Masturbator, Oil on canvas, 1929


☆The Persistance memory & meaning behind

The Persistence of Memory  is a 1931 painting by artist Salvador Dalí, and is one of his most recognizable works. It is widely recognized and frequently referenced in popular culture.

As his style matured, Dali’s works became more and more affected by the concept of psychoanalysis devised by Freud. Dali’s works were increasingly shaped into dreamlike illustrations. This was clearly seen in his most famous work the The Persistence of Memory, in which he depicted several clocks as melted in a desert setting with the ocean appearing below the horizon. Dreams consisted of a large segment of his life, because he would take siestas, or midday rests, in which he encounters more and more dreams He considered the siesta as a state that is achieved at the moment that one forgets about one’s body or in psychoanalysis the state of the unconscious. Yet, his dreamlike style was combined with his sexual desires to give a variety of works with different themes.

The Persistence of Memory employs “the exactitude of realist painting techniques” to depict imagery more likely to be found in dreams than in waking consciousness.

Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, Oil on canvas, 




 ☆Influence on his style of works

Dali was able to create what he called “hand painted dream photographs” which were physical, painted representations of the hallucinations and images he would see while in his paranoid state. Although he certainly had his own load of mental problems to bear, it can be said that Dali’s delusions and paranoid hallucinations did not totally dominate his mind, as he was able to convey them to canvas. Being a painter of miraculous skill, he was capable of reproducing his myriad fantasies and hallucinations as visual illusions on canvas.


☆Why Dali is a prominent figure

Salvador Dali was the most influential contributor to the surrealist movement. Drawing from his study of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, he created the “paranoiac-critical method”, in which he relied on the subconscious mind of the viewers to perceive the true meaning behind his art, and also the “phantom object”, which is perceived by the subconscious mind. All his works were rooted in the subconscious and taken from his dreams, and as such, he changed the surrealist movement, which was a branch from the Dada movement, and made it distinct.

Dali’s manner of revealing the gap between reality and illusion influenced all manner of Modern artists. Beyond developing his own symbolic language, Dali elaborated a way to represent the inner mind. He is considered one of the major Surrealists who used shock and unease to illustrate moments of pleasure, and in this his work remains highly contemporary. Though some second generation Surrealists, like Joseph Cornell, continued working in representational modes, other artists, like many Abstract Expressionists, drew on Dali’s belief in mining the subconscious.

‘The world will admire me. Perhaps I’ll be despised and misunderstood, but I’ll be a great genius, I’m certain of it.’

-Quote by Salvador Dali


☆Quotes by Salvador Dali

☆’At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.’

☆’Democratic societies are unfit for the publication of such thunderous revelations as I am in the habit of making.’

☆’Don’t bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid.’

☆’Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad.’
☆’Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure – that of being Salvador Dali.’
☆’Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.’
☆’I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.’ -‘I don’t do drugs. I am drugs.’
☆’I have Dalinian thought: the one thing the world will never have enough of is the outrageous.’
☆’I seated ugliness on my knee, and almost immediately grew tired of it.’
☆’In order to acquire a growing and lasting respect in society, it is a good thing, if you possess great talent, to give, early in your youth, a very hard kick to the right shin of the society that you love. After that, be a snob’.
‘☆’Instead of stubbornly attempting to use surrealism for purposes of subversion, it is necessary to try to make of surrealism something as solid, complete and classic as the works of museums.’

☆’Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.’

☆’It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning.’

☆’Let my enemies devour each other.’
☆’Liking money like I like it, is nothing less than mysticism. Money is a glory.’

☆’Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.’

☆’Painting is an infinitely minute part of my personality.’

☆’Progressive art can assist people to learn not only about the objective forces at work in the society in which they live, but also about the intensely social character of their interior lives. Ultimately, it can propel people toward social emancipation.’

☆’Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.’

☆’Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic.’
☆’The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.’
☆’The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.
☆’The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.’
☆The terrifying and edible beauty of Art Nouveau architecture.’

☆’The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.’

☆’There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction’.

☆’There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.’
☆’Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.
‘☆’Wars have never hurt anybody except the people who die.’

☆’We are all hungry and thirsty for concrete images. Abstract art will have been good for one thing: to restore its exact virginity to figurative art.’

☆’What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust.’

Source: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/salvador_dali.html


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