Salvador Dali was a very eccentric and obsessive artist; he was inspired and influenced by many people and things. Some of which were quite bizarre. Earlier on in his life he studied at the Madrid academy. This is where he perfected his technique based on the 17th century Dutch still-life masters and the 19th century French and Spanish genre painters. During this time he experimented with Cubism, even though he probably didn’t completely understand the movement. Dali also experimented with Dada, which influenced his work throughout his life.
Dali met Luis Bunuel at the Madrid academy. At this time Dali had painted a portrait of Luis. The painting is a typical style of that time. It is shades of grey. This was when Dali had not yet decided on a style of work. Luis had an interest in surrealism which caused Dali’s curiosity in surrealism.
Following this period he was influenced by the abstract art of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro. Dali did a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miro over the next few years as he developed his own style. He had a strong interest in the works of Giorgio Di Chirico and Carlo Carra.Their works were especially concerned with the power of symbols that were based on dream imagery according to Freudian psychology.
Dali truly believed and was inspired by the theories of Freud. Sigmund Freud had a theory that out sexuality starts from a young age and it then develops as we attach ourselves to other people. He liked Freud’s sexual representation and involved this into his artwork. In 1929 Dali moved to Paris and officiall...
y became a surrealist.
This is when he moved on from his previous beliefs and theories, and his art became based on everyday objects in bizarre combinations and settings.He officially joined the surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. Also in 1929 he would meet his future wife Gala, who was his muse and his biggest influence. Dali’s had an obsession with Hitler and this angered the Surrealists.
Other political differences eventually resulted in expulsion from the group, who were mainly Marxist, accusing Dali of being a Fascist. Dali was interested in natural science and mathematics. This was shown in many of his paintings and included many showing subjects of rhinoceros horns, signifying divine geometry, as the horns grow according to a logarithmic spiral.He also was fascinated by DNA and the hypercube, a 4-dimensional cube. There were many, varied influences in Salvador Dali’s life, and he produced works in many different kinds of mediums, and contributed to a wide range of areas such as theatre, fashion, photography and filmmaking.
‘The Persistence of Memory’ was painted in 1931, and is one of his most famous works. The painting depicts several pocket watches melting slowly on rocks and a tree branch, in a ‘dreamlike’ landscape. This ‘dreamlike’ quality is typical of surrealism.The softness and hardness of things being reversed is another technique used in surrealism, as shown by the melting clocks.
The landscape in the background depicts Dali’s home from Catalonia. The strange creature in the centre of the painting is
a self portrait of Dali. Dali uses extensive symbolism in his works, and some appear in this painting. The melting watches are meant to show the irrelevance of time. They could also symbolize Einstein’s theory that time is relative and not fixed. The ants, are a common theme in Dali’s work, and represent decay.
The painting shows a long depth of field. The elements in the foreground are very finely detailed. The foreground is shadowed and painted in cool tones while the background is lighter and warmer. The contrast in colours and light give the painting a realistic appearance to the imaginary scene. The use of contrast of colour makes this painting well balanced although it is horizontally asymetrical as well as it vertically.
There is use of repetition and harmony by painting the clocks similar to each other. ‘Sleep’ was painted in 1937 and is also based on the Surrealist world of dreams.The painting depicts a huge bodyless head, against a deep blue sky and a bare landscape. The head’s eyes are closed in sleep. The head is held up by crutches, and the neck of the head tapers away and droops over a crutch.
A dog appears on the left, and its head is also in a crutch. Crutches are a familiar motif in Dali’s works, and are a symbol of reality and an anchor in the ground of the real world, providing spiritual and physical support for inadequacy in life. Emphasis and focus are achieved on the sleeping head by magnifying it to a gigantic size, and colouring it in light yellowish colours that contrast with the blue sky.Rhythm is created by using several crutches to support the parts of the face.
Depth is created using perspective. The head in front, while the castle is faraway in the distance to the right, with the dog to the left create a 3D effect, emphasizing the head in the centre. The use of scale and the distorted size of the head focuses the attention to it. ‘The Crucifixion’ was painted in 1954,and he describes it as “Metaphysical, transcendent cubism”.
The painting depicts Christ suspended on an eight sided dodecahedron – an octahedral hypercube or a cube in the fourth dimension, which forms a cross.Gala (Dali’s wife), is the figure in the bottom left, who stands looking up to the crucified Jesus. The cross represents the possible reflection of a separate 4-dimensional world. Dali’s fascination with mathematics is incorporated with his return to his Catholic faith.
This combination represents Dali’s belief that the two seemingly opposed worlds of faith and science can coexist. Salvidor Dali, viewed at 28th April, 2008, <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Salvador_Dal%C3%AD>. Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dali Domenech (Salvador Dali), viewed 28th April, 2008, <http://www.
insecula. com/us/contact/A010510. html>.
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